Overview of a Rotator Cuff Tear

The rotator cuff comprises a number of muscles and tendons in the shoulder. The muscles and tendons connect the shoulder, which is composed of the upper arm bone, the collarbone, and the shoulder blade. The rotator cuff secures the upper arm bone in the shoulder socket, thereby allowing the arm a wide range of motion.

What is a Rotator Cuff Tear?

The tendons in the rotator cuff are prone to injury from normal wear and tear and from overuse. Repetitive activity usually causes overuse. Repetitive activities can cause the rotator cuff to become inflamed and can eventually lead to tearing.

If a rotator cuff is healthy, it will take extreme force to tear a tendon. A rotator cuff tear occurs when a tendon becomes injured. A torn rotator cuff will affect a person’s ability to move their arm, and may cause pain.

Symptoms of a Rotator Cuff Tear

A rotator cuff tear can cause a variety of symptoms, including:

  • Pain when the arm is moved
  • Inability to lift or rotate the arm
  • Popping or tearing sound in the shoulder
  • Bruising to the shoulder or the arm
  • Weakness in the shoulder

Older people often will not experience pain or other symptoms associated with a rotator cuff tear.

Treatment of a Rotator Cuff Tear

It is difficult for a rotator cuff tear to heal. Consequently, the focus of treatment is often on alleviating the symptoms rather than on repairing the tear, especially when the tear is small. Nonsurgical treatments may include physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, steroid injections, and ice packs.

Surgery may be necessary if non-surgical treatments are unsuccessful. When the rotator cuff tear is large, a doctor may perform surgery if bone spur or calcium deposits develop or if a tear develops into rotator cuff arthropathy (shoulder arthritis). In this case, partial or complete shoulder replacement may be required to repair the injury.

Contact a Workers’ Compensation Attorney

If you have sustained a work injury in Pennsylvania that resulted in a torn rotator cuff, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. You may be eligible for lost wage payments, specific loss benefits, and medical care. Contact a Pennsylvania workers’ compensation attorney at the Calhoon and Kaminsky P.C., at 717-695-4722 or 877-291-WORK (9675).