Rotator Cuff Tear

Shoulder pain is a common complaint in our community. For younger people, shoulder pain is usually the result of an accident or injury. In older patients, it can be a natural wear and tear process. A rotator cuff injury is a common cause of shoulder pain, and is due to a strain or tear in the muscles or tendons of your shoulder.

Dr. David Colvin, trained in orthopaedic surgery in Perth. David's specialty is knee and shoulder surgery and sports injuries.

rotator cuff tear

What causes a Rotator Cuff Tear?

Generally speaking, there are two leading causes of rotator cuff injuries:

  • Acute Tear: Many patients sustain this type of rotator cuff tear by falling with an outstretched arm, or have lifted something that was very heavy.
  • Degenerative Tear: These tears are the result of wearing down of the tendons slowly over time. This naturally occurring degeneration happens as we get older.

Several factors contribute to rotator cuff tears.

  • Repetitive stress: Continually repeating the same shoulder motions, particularly repetitive overhead movements can stress the rotator cuff muscles and tendons.
  • Lack of adequate blood supply: The blood supply in our rotator cuff tendons reduces as we get older. Without a good blood supply, your body's natural ability to repair tendon damage is reduced. This can lead to a tendon tear.
  • Bone spurs: As we age, bone spurs, which are caused by bone overgrowth, can develop. If bone spurs rub against tendons or muscles, they can cause a rotator cuff tear.

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What are the symptoms to look out for?

The most common symptoms of a rotator cuff injury include:

  • Pain at rest and at night, worse if lying on the affected shoulder.
  • Pain when lifting and lowering your arm or with specific movements.
  • Weakness when lifting or rotating your arm.
  • A crackling sensation when moving your shoulder.

When a rotator cuff tear happens suddenly, such as from a fall, you will usually feel intense pain. There may be immediate weakness and difficulty lifting your arm.

Rotator cuff injuries that develop slowly due to overuse will also cause pain and arm weakness. You may feel this pain in your shoulder or have pain that moves down your arm towards the elbow.

rotator cuff tear

When is surgery best?

If your pain is not being relieved by non-surgical treatment, or you need to use your shoulder for work or sports activities, you may benefit from rotator cuff repair surgery.

Other signs that shoulder surgery may be a good option for you include:

  • You have a large full thickness rotator cuff tear.
  • You have significant weakness and loss of function in your shoulder.
  • Your tear has resulted from a recent acute injury.
  • Your symptoms have lasted more than six months.

When you need trusted and specialised orthopaedic expertise

There are a number of options for repairing rotator cuff tears. Your orthopaedic surgeon Dr David Colvin will discuss with you the best procedure to meet your work requirements and sporting ambitions. Please contact our practice in Subiaco Perth on 08 9489 8788 to book your appointment.

CO.RE Rotator Cuff

rotator cuff tear

In the field of shoulder and knee reconstruction, successful outcomes from an operation are 50% surgery and 50% rehabilitation. You could say the surgery is the easy bit, the rehabilitation is all hard slog. Dr Colvin’s CO.RE exercise programs are just that, a core plan for your successful recovery.

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Rotator Cuff Repair

Rotator Cuff Repair surgery is very common and is done for patients who have significant pain, particularly if this pain is interfering with their sleep. When the rotator cuff tendons of the shoulder tear, they pull away from their attachment to the bone.
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Rotator Cuff Injury Handout

The shoulder is one of the most complex joints in the human body. It is complex because it allows a range of motion greater than any other joint. The shoulder is made up of the shoulder socket and the humerus which is the upper bone of the arm. The collarbone or clavicle also contributes to the shoulder joint.
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Rotator Cuff Treatment FAQ

Rotator cuff tears are a very common source of shoulder pain. When you need surgery for a rotator cuff injury, you may have a lot of questions. That's why I have created a page listing the most common frequently asked questions about rotator cuff treatment. 

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CONTACT DETAILS

David Colvin

OPENING HOURS

Monday to Friday 8:30am to 5.00pm AWST

Consulting Rooms

Dr David Colvin consults at:
Western Orthopaedic Clinic
Suite 213, 25 McCourt Street,
Subiaco WA 6008 (Perth)

  • These rooms are part of St John of God Subiaco Hospital.
  • Parking is available on site.

OPERATING

Dr David Colvin operates at:

St John of God Subiaco Hospital Salvado Road, Subiaco WA 6008 (Perth)