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.
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.
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 Repair
Rotator Cuff Injury Handout
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.
Get in touch with us!
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.
Dr David Colvin operates at: