Can a Torn Rotator Cuff Heal On Its Own?

What Does a Stem Cell Injection Do? The rotator cuff is an important group of tendons and muscles that keeps the shoulder—a ball-and-socket joint made up of the scapula and humerus bones—securely in place during movement. A rotator cuff tear occurs when one of these tendons is pulled away from the arm bone, either suddenly through a traumatic injury or gradually with frequent use.

So, can a torn rotator cuff heal on its own? While it’s possible for some mild partial tears to improve with self-care measures like rest and using cold packs, most tears do not get better on their own. In fact, if left untreated, some tears can grow larger and cause greater discomfort, possibly leading to joint degeneration and permanent loss of movement.

When Should I Seek Medical Care for a Rotator Cuff Tear?

It’s always a good idea to consult with an orthopedic doctor if you have shoulder or arm pain that does not improve with rest. This is especially true if your pain occurs immediately following an injury. The most common indicators of a torn rotator cuff include:

  • Arm weakness
  • A dull, aching pain deep within the shoulder joint
  • Difficulty reaching behind your back
  • Shoulder pain that worsens while at rest

How Are Rotator Cuff Tears Treated?

A rotator cuff tear cannot be fully repaired without surgery. However, many people with partial tears can find adequate relief from symptoms through nonsurgical methods like:

  • Immobilization with a sling
  • Physical therapy
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Steroid injections

When surgery is clinically appropriate (this is often the case for young athletes), there are several procedures that can be performed to:

  • Reattach the tendon to the bone
  • Replace the damaged tendon with tissue from elsewhere in the body
  • Trim frayed segments of tendon

Treatment for Rotator Cuff Injuries at Tampa Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Group

Highly specialized treatment for rotator cuff tears and other musculoskeletal injuries is provided at Tampa Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine—a division of Florida Medical Clinic and the longest-operating orthopedic practice in the Tampa area. Our patients benefit from the expertise of two lauded, board-certified experts: sports medicine physician Dr. Arnold Ramirez and orthopedic sports medicine surgeon Dr. Daniel Murphy. When they’re not caring for patients at Tampa Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Group, Dr. Ramirez and Dr. Murphy can be found on the sidelines as team doctors for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New York Yankees.

Our specialists usually take a conservative approach to rotator cuff tears and other sports injuries to avoid unnecessary surgical intervention. However, when surgical repair is the best option for the patient, Dr. Murphy leverages muscle-sparing, minimally invasive surgical techniques and routinely repairs rotator cuff tears arthroscopically.

Contact Tampa Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Group today to schedule an appointment with a specialist on our team. Or, request an appointment online. We accept most health insurance plans and proudly serve adolescents, adults, and seniors throughout the Tampa area.