Rotator Cuff Tear - Recovery Tips

A rotator cuff tear is a partial or complete tear of one or more of the four rotator cuff tendons around the shoulder, typically affecting older adults.

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From the Blog

Rotator cuff injuries: Signs and symptoms of this serious shoulder injury

This article discusses some of the common signs and symptoms affected patients might experience with rotator cuff tears or impingement.

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From the Blog

Driving after rotator cuff surgery

One of the questions I often receive during the office visit after a patient has surgery that he or she wishes he had asked before surgery deals with driving.

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Reasons an MRI can be important to evaluate an injury

Magnetic resonance imaging offers doctors amazing ability to diagnose a wide variety of injuries. Use of MRI has become common in orthopedic surgery.

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The Sports and Exercise Injury Primer

Webinar series explains the top 20 injuries suffered by athletes and active people.

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Ask Dr. Geier: Shoulder Injuries

How to get rid of pain, anxiety and frustration from your shoulder injury.

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The Injury Evaluation Course

Does the thought of seeing a doctor for your injury scare you?

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That’s Gotta Hurt

The Injuries That Changed Sports Forever

Through the stories of a dozen athletes whose injuries and recovery advanced the field (including Joan Benoit, Michael Jordan, Brandi Chastain, and Tommy John), Dr. Geier explains how sports medicine makes sports safer for the pros, amateurs, student-athletes, and weekend warriors alike.

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Frequently Asked Questions on Rotator Cuff Tear Injuries

+What is this injury?

-What is this injury?

A rotator cuff tear is a partial or complete tear of one or more of the four rotator cuff tendons. Rotator cuff injuries typically affect adults. In fact, youth, high school or college athletes rarely have rotator cuff pathology as a primary problem. People in their thirties and early forties rarely have a full-thickness tear without a significant traumatic event, such as a fall. Younger adults almost always have impingement without a full tear related to overuse. Adults in their fifties and beyond can develop full-thickness rotator cuff tears without a major injury.
+What are the common treatments?

-What are the common treatments?

Treatment options differ based on the severity of the injury and other factors. Physical therapy and a home exercise program, a short period of rest from the offending activity and injections are some of the common nonsurgical treatments. Surgery to debride, or "clean up", a partial tear or reattach a complete tear are common surgical options.
+How long could it take to recover?

-How long could it take to recover?

Full recovery requires time to regain full strength, motion and shoulder function. Recovery differs greatly depending on the nature of the treatment needed to fix the problem. Recovery can take anywhere from a few weeks to six months or more if a full rotator cuff repair is performed.
+What should I ask my doctor?

-What should I ask my doctor?

It is always a good idea to ask if surgery is necessary and if there are nonsurgical treatment options that can be tried first. If you choose to undergo surgery, understanding what restrictions the surgeon will place after surgery and what you can safely do, such as driving and working, are important. Also ask when you could expect to safely return to your sport or exercise.