Don't fear the tear!

May 20, 2019

Have you recently been diagnosed with a rotator cuff tear? Do you feel as though you’ll need to get it stitched up by a surgeon as soon as possible to gain use of your shoulder again? Maybe not!

The rotator cuff (RC) is a group of 4 muscles that originate in the shoulder blade and attach to the head of the humerus, or upper arm bone (Figure 1). It is the primary stabilizer of the shoulder joint and is pertinent for shoulder function1, both everyday activates and high-level athletes like baseball pitchers and volleyball players. Rotator cuff tears are typically diagnosed with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) (Figure 2) or ultrasound imaging (US), both of which are very accurate2 and can be requested by some of the physios at Active Physio Works.

shoulder_pic1.png    shoulder_pic2.png

 

 

The thing that most people don’t know about RC tears are that they can be asymptomatic, meaning they don’t cause pain or other symptoms. The prevalence of asymptomatic partial and full thickness RC tears has been shown to be as high as 50% in people older than 60 years, and 80% in people older than 803. Other studies have shown that tears become more prevalent with age starting as early as your 40’s4

So, what does this mean? It means that damage to muscles or tendons don’t always equal pain, but rather these tears or degenerative changes are just normal changes in the body (Figure 3)!

shoulder_pic3.png

 

Now, although many people with RC tears can be asymptomatic, several factors can lead them to become painful, or symptomatic3

  • Age is the greatest predictive factor of having a painful RC tear with older people having a greater chance of developing a painful RC tear compared to younger people.
  • The size of the tear increases the chance of developing pain, where full thickness tears are at a greater risk of causing pain than a partial thickness tear.
  • Other factors like genetics, smoking, high cholesterol, and diabetes have all shown to be risk factors for developing a painful RC tear.

So, when do you know to go with physical therapy or surgery? As of right now, the best indicators a summarized in table 1.

 

Physical Therapy

Surgery


  • Atraumatic cause (e.g. degeneration)
  • Patients older than 60
  • Smaller tears

 

  • Traumatic cause (e.g. sporting or work-related injury)
  • Patients younger than 60
  • Larger tears >1-1.5 cm in size
  • Patients who have failed conservative therapy (i.e. physical therapy) for at least six weeks

 

Even with these factors taken into consideration, nothing can replace a thorough physical examination and history because everyone’s situation is unique. To find out if physical therapy can help you, visit your nearest Active Physio Works clinic location in Edmonton, St. Albert and Fort Saskatchewan for an assessment and treatment today!



Please add your bio info through your member profile page, or through your dashboard.


Posted By


Tag Cloud

5kmORIF surgeryprotectcarpal tunnelpelvic health physiotherapyacupuncturekeep fit, have funinfluence of painback painvestibular rehabilitationHawrelak Parksouth edmontonslip and fallsIT band syndromeglute strengthironman canada1km kids fun runvolleyballstrengthmagrathtext neckMS Bike Leduc to Camrosecat-scanpine to palmbaseline testingultramarathonfootballdr shepsknee replacementvictoria day100 miletrail runningheel painIMScity chase canadatrapezius strengtheningdraw prizesorthopedic surgeonsfoam rollerms bike tour 2019Sigvaris compression stockingscanadian trailsglobal edmontonbanff triathlon10kmRunpatellar tendonitisst albert 10 milerbowen techniqueSt. Albertmarathonthoracic spineglute strengtheningcommunity runhip impingmentnew york marathonwarm heartniagara fallscomplete concussion management inc.sigvaris stockingsflexibilityphysical therapyGLA:D® St. Albertgood fridaybarefoot runningeasterinjurylumbar spine imagingPFPSGLA:D® Edmontoncustom fit compression stockingsdave proctorAADL fundingGLA:D™Swimroad rage hockey tournamentremembrance dayachilles repair surgeryneck painankle sprains in athletesfirst appointmentorthoticseating cleangolfactive physio worksyegfitMRI10 mileoutcome surveySAPECoperation esperanza5kyou can ride twowrist painbellerose bike a thontraininglow back painathlete injuryfast trax ultrayogaitufitnessbest of T8Nfitness programcross trainingmuscle tightnessyardworkpricesoccerschoolshoulderpainst. albert road race#eddiedontbendpreventing sports injurieship painyegfitnessshoulder injuriesjames deanshoulder imagingkidssports injurygait aidsskatingrunning footwearsynchronized skatingcommunityfrozen shouldersmall business nomineeracingfasciamud runout run raretournamentultranational championshipsp90xstaying fit while pregnantrunning gaitmedical mission to Ecuadorshockwave therapywounded warriorsstrengtheningrunningultrarunningpregnancy back painparadecarpal tunnel surgerywarm hands10 miler training planlumbar spinefernie ultracouch to 5ksleepspin classseptember 30adjunct to Physiotherapyexplore albertatriathloncity chaserestcity chase national championshipsinflammation injuryaquathonpush up programservus placeyegphysiox-raydizzinessUrinary Incontinencemarathon runningtraining on vacationprehab before rehabGLA:D™ back programpre-natal fitnessHIITconcussion testingrental car motor vehicle accidentcommunity involvementrehabilitationplantar fasciitistreatment for headachesheadachesfree fort bbqrunning formdynamic stretchingtrapsBest PhysiotherapistTOScupping therapycore strengtheningcuppingscapula5km obstacle courseexercise challengefirst triwinter runninghockeyfort saskatchewantrail runst albert road racefitness journeystretchingget movingfamilyedmonton oilersair relaxWinter Injury Preventiontendor teartreating sports injuriescity chase national championshipsinister 7nerve glides#activephysioworkspole walkingrunning techniquemechanical stressRacerace seasoniron legsphysiotherapyITU World Triathlon Grand Final Edmontonexercise programironmansoccer injuriestaperbiomechanicslost souls ultraplantar faciitisyegbikest albert triathlondeath race training planrotator cuff teareaster mondaybowen therapygolfer's elbowGLA:D™ knee program10 milerregistered massage therapyarthritisholiday hourstour de palm springsmodified return to activityWPTDextended health carenational triathlon championshipsdraw prizehalf marathonhamstringdirect billingcancer careThoracic Outlet Syndromehigh intensity interval trainingtrade showSt. Albert Triathlonalberta health servicesfun in the fortworld championshipsrotator cuffactive physio works 5kmoutdoor runningsafe exercises during pregnancyrecoveryms bike tour leduc to camrosehiking in the mountainsbikingroad raceGunn theory of IMSshin splintspelvic floorpelvic girdle painankle injuriesimPACT testingbellerose bike-a-thonITU World Grand Final Triathlon Edmontonvolleyball injuriesms bike tourturkey on the trailsdiagnostic imagingconcussions in sporthikingshoulder dislocationcanada day paradeultra runningOsteoarthritisboxingWestern Statesgait analysisbikes on broadwayfundraisercustom fit orthoticscupping therapy in st albertphysical activitygrand openingwhat to expectknee painctv morning liveultrasoundinjury preventionknee injuryavoiding injuryheadacheBPPVlegacy park family festivalcompressionfort saskatchewan trade showtraining planlifestyle expoadaptive cyclingshoulder painworkout plancanada daycity chase world championshipvertigomotor vehicle accidentworld triathlon championshipsfort saskatchewan chamber of commerceconcussionst. albert chamber of commerceHealth Information ActMS Bikemarathon trainingtraining nutritionsports concussioncompression stockings10milerstrength trainingCBC interviewrunning shoesmassage therapycornneedlingrunners kneeankle sprainboxers fracturelateral epicondylitistechniquegreat white north triathlongolf injuriesthrowing athletescervogenic headachesphysiotherapy for cancer patientsswimmingexercisehip replacementhalf ironmanoutcome measuresheart diseaseworld grand final edmontonsecondary submittinghealthy recipesIntramuscular Stimulationdefining painreturn to sportdr chanBikeedmontonworld physical therapy daylife movesTeam Rehabcharitykids fun runfotoMedial EpicondylitisTMJiceelbow painkids of steel triathlonjaw paindry needlingITU World Triathlon Grand Final Cozumelhamstring injuriesdeath raceGLA:D®festivalultrarunnercold weather runningdown and dirty obstacle course#teamrehabobstacle coursenutritioncortisoneroastACL injurieswhy active physio worksthoracic spine mobilityWTS Edmontonctv edmontonclavicle fracturepelvic healthshockwavecommunity eventmyofascial cupping therapypain centrescupping in st albertjumpers kneetennis elbowconcussion in sportSCAT 3triathleterunning injuriesP-90Xregistered massage therapistswimmerexercise plantreatment planadventure racingcaneolympian distance challengeoutdoor running seasontaperingvelocity stage racePosturearthritis of the spinefoot paincycling racebackpack safetycyclingagingclinic closurebasketball injuriesphysio for golfyou can ride 2hockey injuryvolunteerconcussion managementcrutches


Archive

What to Expect

We understand that you may have a few questions before visiting our clinics for your initial appointment.

Book an Appointment

Book in for an appointment with one of our qualified Active Physio Works Physiotherapists &
Registered Massage Therapists.

Treatments

We understand each person is different so we offer a variety of techniques that are best suited to your individual needs.