How long does a rotator cuff tear take to heal without surgery?
The best results occur when the tear is fresh rather than older tear. Most rotator cuff repairs take approximately six months of rehabilitation to regain as full as possible range of motion, shoulder strength and function.
In this study, 24 patients who had full thickness supraspinatus tears and who opted to forego surgery were tracked over time. In 2 of the 24 patients, the rotator cuff tear completely healed on its own. In only 6 of the 24 patients, the tear was found to be bigger.
- Symptoms of rotator cuff tendinitis include:
- pain and swelling in the front of your shoulder and side of your arm.
- pain triggered by raising or lowering your arm.
- a clicking sound when raising your arm.
- pain that causes you to wake from sleep.
- pain when reaching behind your back.
- The muscles and tendons in the rotator cuff group may be damaged in a variety of ways. Damage can occur from an acute injury (for example from a fall or accident), from chronic overuse (like throwing a ball or lifting), or from gradual degeneration of the muscle and tendon that can occur with aging.
- The first phase of recovery can potentially last up to 6 weeks after the surgery. You will be instructed to keep the shoulder as immobile as possible and to keep your arm in a sling. The use of the sling keeps the weight of your arm off of the tendon which assists in the healing process.
If you have symptoms that don't get better after 3 to 6 months, you may need surgery. You may want to think about surgery if you have torn your rotator cuff in a sudden injury and the tear is causing shoulder weakness. Whether you choose surgery or other treatment, you will need rehabilitation and physical therapy.
- In this study, 24 patients who had full thickness supraspinatus tears and who opted to forego surgery were tracked over time. In 2 of the 24 patients, the rotator cuff tear completely healed on its own. So in 75% of the patients, the tear was either healed, smaller, or didn't change.
- By strengthening these muscles, therapy can help compensate for damaged tendons and improve the mechanics of the shoulder joint. However, the truth is that the vast majority of patients who have a rotator cuff tear will not need surgical treatment.
- Ice numbs pain and causes blood vessels to constrict, which helps reduce swelling. After the first three days, heat may provide better benefit for chronic tendinitis pain. Heat can increase blood flow to an injury, which may help promote healing.
A partial tear of the rotator cuff is an area of damage to the rotator cuff tendons, where the tear does not go all the way through the tendons. Rather, in a partial rotator cuff injury, the tendon is damaged, but not all the way through.
- In full thickness tears, the full width of the tendon is torn off of the bone. In partial thickness tears, some of the width of the tendon is torn off of the bone: low grade partial tears involve less than 50 percent of the width while in high grade tears more than 50 percent is torn.
- If you think you've injured your rotator cuff, try these steps:
- Rest your shoulder. Stop doing what caused the pain and try to avoid painful movements.
- Apply ice and heat. Putting ice on your shoulder helps reduce inflammation and pain.
- Take pain relievers.
- During arthroscopy, your surgeon inserts a small camera, called an arthroscope, into your shoulder joint. All-arthroscopic repair is usually an outpatient procedure and is the least invasive method to repair a torn rotator cuff.
Updated: 25th November 2019