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Rotator Cuff Tear

The rotator cuff is a group of tendons in the shoulder joint that cover and provide support to the shoulder joint, enabling wider range of motion. A tear in the rotator cuff is one of the most common causes of shoulder pain in middle aged adults and older individuals. It may occur with repetitive movements while working or playing sports, during motor accidents, lifting a heavy object or a fall on an outstretched arm. As aging occurs, bone spurs may develop and can damage tendon tissue causing tears.

Rotator cuff tears cause severe pain (even at rest), weakness and a crackling sensation on moving your shoulder in certain positions. There may be stiffness, swelling, loss of movement and tenderness in front of the shoulder.

Rotator cuff tears can be diagnosed with a medical review and thorough physical exam, and confirmed following X-ray, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or ultrasound.

Symptomatic relief may be obtained with conservative treatments including rest, shoulder sling, pain medications, NSAIDs, steroidal injections and shoulder exercises. However, surgery is required when these methods do not help relieve symptoms. Rotator cuff repair may be performed by traditional open surgery (involving a large incision) or minimally invasive with arthroscopy (a lighted narrow fiber-optic tube with a camera is inserted through tiny incisions). Surgery may involve removal of bone spurs, repairing and re-attaching torn tendons with suture anchors to the shoulder bone and sometimes transferring a functional tendon (graft) from its original location to restore function. Following the surgery you may be advised to practice motion and strengthening exercises.

Our Providers: Shoulder and Elbow Specialists

  • John Baker, MD

    John Baker, MD

    Practice Name

    Orthopedic Surgery
    • Knee
    • Shoulder
    • Sports Medicine
  • Wayne Z. Burkhead, MD

    Wayne Z. Burkhead, MD

    Practice Name

    Orthopedic Surgery
    Total Joint Replacement
    • Shoulder
    • Shoulder Replacement
    • Sports Medicine
  • Daniel E. Cooper, MD

    Daniel E. Cooper, M.

    Practice Name

    Orthopedic Surgery
    • Knee
    • Shoulder
    • Sports Injuries
    • Sports Medicine (10 years and older)
  • Kurt Kitziger, MD

    Kurt Kitziger, MD

    Practice Name

    Orthopedic Surgery
    Total Joint Replacement
    • Hip Replacement
    • Anterior Hip Approach
    • Posterior Hip Approach
    • Shoulder Replacement
    • Hip Injuries
    • Knee Replacement
    • Knee Injuries
    • Sports Medicine (5 years and older)
  • Todd Moen, MD

    Todd Moen, MD

    Practice Name

    Orthopedic Surgery
    • Elbow
    • Knee
    • Shoulder
    • Shoulder Replacement
    • Sports Medicine
  • Mark Muller, MD

    Mark Muller, MD

    Practice Name

    Orthopedic Surgery
    Total Joint Replacement
    • Hip
    • Hip Replacement
    • Knee
    • Knee Replacement
    • Shoulder
    • Shoulder Replacement
    • Sports Medicine (5 years and older)
  • James R. Sackett, MD

    James R. Sackett, MD

    Practice Name

    Orthopedic Surgery
    • Sports Medicine (Birth -13 years)- Club Feet, Sports Injuries
    • Sports Medicine (Birth-18 years)- Fractures, Hip, Knee, Scoliosis, Shoulders
    • Sports Medicine (13 years – 18 years)- Ankle, Foot, Forearm, Wrist, Wrist Fractures
  • Daniel Worrel, MD

    Daniel Worrel, MD

    Practice Name

    Orthopedic Surgery/Total Joint Replacement
    • Elbow
    • Elbow Replacement
    • Knee
    • Knee Replacement
    • Shoulder
    • Shoulder Replacement
    • Sports Medicine (13 years and older)
    • Wrist Fractures
  • Thomas Diliberti, MD

    Thomas Diliberti, MD

    Practice Name

    Orthopedic Surgery
    Total Joint Replacement
    • Elbow
    • Elbow Replacement
    • Finger
    • Forearm
    • Hand
    • Joint Finger Replacement
    • Sports Medicine (7 years and older)
    • Wrist
  • Megan M. Wood, MD

    Megan M. Wood, MD

    Practice Name

    Specialty & Sub-Specialties

    Orthopedic Surgery
    • Elbow
    • Hand
    • Wrist
    • Fractures
    • Sports Medicine
    • Treats all ages (birth-adult)