What Will Happen if a Rotator Cuff Tear is Left Untreated?

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A rotator cuff tear is a common injury affecting nearly two million people in the U.S. each year. While it can be effectively treated, a torn rotator cuff can cause problems if it’s left untreated.  

What is a Rotator Cuff Tear?

The rotator cuff is a collection of tendons that keep the arm in the shoulder socket. It connects the humerus, which is the upper arm bone, to the shoulder blade. The rotator cuff facilitates the ability to rotate and lift the arm. 

A rotator cuff tear occurs when one or multiple of the tendons that make up the rotator cuff become torn. The tendon then may partially or fully detach from the humorous. 

Symptoms of a rotator cuff tear may include pain at rest, pain with certain motions (like lifting and lowering the arm), weakness while lifting and lowering the arm, and a crackling sensation while moving the shoulder (known as crepitus). 

The Importance of Prompt Treatment For Rotator Cuff Tears

Waiting to seek out treatment for a torn rotator cuff can lead to various issues, including:

Worsening Symptoms

The main risk of putting off rotator cuff treatment is worsening symptoms. Without treatment, you may start to experience deep, lasting pain in the shoulder, as well as a popping sensation with arm movements. Some patients may experience continual, debilitating pain that makes it difficult to sleep at night. 

Risk of Further Damage

If a rotator cuff tear is left untreated, the tears in the tendon(s) will become larger. In addition to this worsening injury, an untreated rotator cuff tear can increase your risk of conditions including shoulder arthritis and shoulder instability. 

Inability to Complete Daily Activities

A torn rotator cuff can gradually diminish your ability to carry out everyday activities. You may experience pain with basic tasks like reaching for a high shelf, driving or brushing your hair. Prompt treatment is essential to restore mobility after a rotator cuff tear. 

At Hernando Orthopaedic, we offer comprehensive care for pain, disorders, and injuries affecting the shoulders. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!