Chronic Vs. Acute Rotator Cuff Injury

A chronic tear is more common in people with occupations or sports requiring excessive overhead activity. Pain may worsen at night and shoulder motion will gradually decrease. For a chronic tear, rest and ibuprofen are usually the best form of pain control followed by physical therapy, steroid injections and surgical repair if needed.

An acute tear to the rotator cuff can occur from a sudden raising of the arm against resistance. Symptoms include a sudden tearing sensation followed by severe pain shooting down the arm. Acute tears usually require more than one visit to an orthopaedic specialist and surgery may be considered within a few weeks in younger, active patients.

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