What is a Rotator Cuff Tear Video Transcription:

So many people want to know what the rotator cuff is. The rotator cuff is a group of four muscle-tendon components that attach your arm to your body. They do a few different things. The most common thing that everybody knows is it moves your arm in space, right? So it helps you throw a ball or pick up, you know, your keys. It moves your arm in space. But it also stabilizes your shoulder joint. So it pulls the ball down and into the socket. So it’s a very important function for that to have.

When somebody tears the rotator cuff, there’s two different ways that it may happen. Very commonly it’s just repetitive over years. So if you’re a swimmer or a tennis player and you’re constantly doing the same motion over and over again, over time, the body can degenerate the tendon and eventually it may tear. You can also tear it through a traumatic event. So if you’re perhaps on a bus and the bus stops short and you grab the bar and your muscle tendon pulls off the bone, that can be a traumatic event.

Both can cause similar symptoms, meaning you may not be able to raise your arm up or you may just have a lot of pain. But the important thing is to determine whether that particular rotator cuff needs to be treated surgically or not. Most of the time, especially if it’s just pain and even dysfunction, these things can be treated non-operatively.┬áMost of the tears are partial tears, but even if you have the full thickness tear, if it’s a very small amount, it can be treated non-operatively. And most of the time…I would say about 90% of the time…patients will do very well without surgery and come back to their full function with the proper treatment.