The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that connect the shoulder blade to the upper arm bone. These muscles and tendons work together to provide stability and support for the shoulder joint, allowing for a wide range of movement and flexibility. However, when these muscles and tendons become damaged, it can result in a rotator cuff tear.

Rotator cuff tears can happen for a variety of reasons. One of the most common causes is overuse, especially in people who engage in repetitive overhead activities. Other causes include aging, injury, or degeneration from arthritis.

Symptoms of a rotator cuff tear include pain, weakness, and stiffness in the shoulder, as well as difficulty moving the arm and a loss of range of motion. If left untreated, a rotator cuff tear can lead to chronic pain and loss of function in the shoulder.

Why does this happen?

Rotator cuff tears are common in people over 40, especially those who engage in repetitive overhead motions, such as athletes or manual laborers. These tears can occur due to the overuse of the shoulder and the gradual wear and tear on the muscles and tendons over time.

Another cause of rotator cuff tears is injury. The rotator cuff can become torn when the shoulder is impacted, such as in a fall or accident. Additionally, degenerative conditions such as arthritis can also lead to rotator cuff tears.

How can Rotator Cuff tears be prevented?

Maintaining healthy shoulder muscles and tendons is the best way to prevent rotator cuff tears. This includes engaging in regular exercise, such as weightlifting, swimming, and other activities that work the shoulder muscles.

For people who engage in repetitive overhead activities, it is important to take frequent breaks and avoid repetitive movements that may cause strain on the shoulder. Additionally, warming up and stretching before participating in activities that involve overhead motions can help to prevent rotator cuff tears.

What treatments can be used for Rotator Cuff tears?

If a rotator cuff tear is diagnosed, several treatment options are available. Conservative treatment options, such as rest, physical therapy, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), can help to manage pain and inflammation.

Another option for the treatment of rotator cuff tears is the use of biologics, such as platelet-rich plasma or cell-based therapies, which can be used to help promote tissue regeneration. Biologic therapies are injection procedures. Blood, bone marrow, or fat tissue is collected, processed, and injected into the shoulder to help repair the damaged tissue and promote healing. These procedures are performed on an outpatient basis. There are no large incisions or lengthy hospitalizations involved. 

For more severe tears, surgery may be necessary. Surgery options include arthroscopy, which uses small incisions to repair the damaged tissue, or open surgery, which involves a larger incision and a prolonged recovery. 

In conclusion, rotator cuff tears can happen for various reasons. Maintaining healthy shoulder muscles and tendons is the best way to prevent them. When a rotator cuff tear is diagnosed, several treatment options are available, including biologics such as platelet-rich plasma injections and cell-based therapies. These treatments can help to manage pain, promote healing, and restore function in the shoulder. Consult with your doctor to find the best treatment plan for you.

The team at SDOMG has vast experience treating shoulder pain and using orthobiologic treatments to reduce chronic pain. Fill out the form below to learn more about how our team of experts can help.

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