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Rotator Cuff Injury (cont.)

What Follow-up Is Needed for a Rotator Cuff Injury?

  • An orthopedic surgeon may be consulted regarding the possible need for surgery.
  • Primary-care providers and sports-medicine specialists who are not surgeons often also care for patients with rotator cuff injuries.

Physical therapy is an important component of treatment regardless of whether surgery was performed. A health-care provider referral may be needed.

What Are Tips for Preventing Rotator Cuff Injuries?

  • Accidents happen and falls may be difficult to prevent, especially in sporting activities.
  • Overuse injuries may be prevented by appropriately warming up before performing tasks that will stress the shoulder joint. This applies to daily and work activities as well as sports. Stretching before or after an activity is also a reasonable prevention strategy.

What Is the Prognosis of a Rotator Cuff Injury?

  • Depending on the age of the person and the extent of the injury, nonsurgical treatment is reported to have a success rate of 40%-90%.
  • Older people may have a much longer time to complete recovery.
  • Those patients undergoing surgical repair have a high rate of recovery. One study found 94% of the people were satisfied after surgery with lasting relief of pain and improved function. Results depend upon the extent of the injury. Patients with large rotator cuff tears fare less well.

Rotator Cuff Injury Picture

Shoulder. Hooked anterior acromion.
Shoulder. Hooked anterior acromion.


Hutson, M., and A. Ward. Oxford Textbook of Musculoskeletal Medicine, 2nd Edition. Oxford University Press, 2016.

Stoller, D.W. Stoller's Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine: The Shoulder, 1st ed. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2014.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/15/2016

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