A rotator cuff is a group of tendons in the shoulder joint that provides support and enables a wide range of motion. A major injury to the shoulder may result in a rotator cuff tear. It is one of the most common causes of shoulder pain in middle-aged adults and older individuals.
A rotator cuff tear results from pressure on the rotator cuff from part of the shoulder blade (scapula) as the arm is lifted. It may occur with repeated use of the arm for overhead activities while playing sports or after motor accidents.
Rotator cuff tears cause severe pain, weakness of the arm and a crackling sensation on moving the shoulder in certain positions. There may be stiffness, swelling, loss of movement and tenderness in the front of the shoulder.
Your surgeon diagnoses a rotator cuff tear based on a physical examination and X-rays. A rotator cuff tear is best viewed on magnetic resonance imaging.
Rotator cuff repair may be performed by open surgery or arthroscopic procedure. In the arthroscopic procedure, the space for the rotator cuff tendons are increased and the cuff tear is repaired using suture anchors. These suture anchors help in attaching the tendons to the shoulder bone. Following the surgery, you may be advised to practice motion and strengthening exercises.