Torn Rotator Cuff
In this articles I want to examine a torn rotator cuff in a bit more detail. There are a range of various rotator cuff injuries and their causes but they all amount to basically the same thing a torn cuff.
I would imagine that you are here reading this because you have been diagnosed with a torn rotator cuff. Like you, I have also suffered with a torn cuff and rotator cuff injuries.
Full or partial tear?There is a range of severity in torn rotator cuff injuries with all rotator cuff injuries classified as full or partial tears. This is complicated only by those cases in which the tendon completely detaches.
Although any of the four rotator cuff tendons can be affected it is most often the tendon of the supraspinatus that is torn. Generally no matter which tendon or tendons are affected the tear usually occurs at the point of insertion into the humeral head.
Partial thickness tears often appear as a fraying of the still intact tendon.
Full thickness tears are complete "through and through" tears. They can range from small pin point sized tears to large button-hole size ruptures affecting the whole of the tendon.
The tendon remains substantially attached to the humeral head and as a result the rotator cuff retains its function. There may well be a loss of strength however.
Generally the above can be successfully treated by rotator cuff rehabilitation and rotator cuff strengthening exercises. A torn cuff such as is described below will more likely require surgery.
Full thickness tears may also be complicated by the complete detachment of the tendon from the humeral head. This will almost certainly result in a restriction of shoulder motion. It is also likely that the functions of the shoulder will be significantly affected.
Further classification of tears for surgery
If surgery is being considered as a treatment option for a torn cuff it is necessary to further classify the tear. This is done on the basis of both size and shape.
If you have suffered one, get yourself a shoulder wrap or shoulder support in the mean time to ease tension and not aggravate it further. You need to take care of your rotator cuff or it will get worse.
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