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A 47-year-old member asked:

What is the difference between an impingement and tear of a rotator cuff?

2 doctor answers6 doctors weighed in
Dr. John Ayres
Orthopedic Surgery 38 years experience
Severity of condtion: With impingment, the rotator cuff is being pinched, without necessarily being torn, between the acromion of the shoulder blade and the top of the humerus. Raising your arm pinches the rotator cuff just like closing a door pinches your fingers if they are stuck between the door and door jam. A rotator cuff tear implies that the tendon is not simply inflamed but is partially or totally disrupted.
Dr. Chittur Ananthakrishnan
Orthopedic Reconstructive Surgery 55 years experience
Injury vs tearing: Impingement implies the cuff not having enough room to move vs tearing of the cuff. Impingemnt can be caused by multiple factors and can lead to tears of the cuff.

Similar questions

A 47-year-old female asked:

Can a tear heal on its own in a rotator cuff?

2 doctor answers5 doctors weighed in
Dr. Brian Chimenti
Sports Medicine 28 years experience
Rotator Cuff: Depends on the size and thickness. Partial thickness tears can heal if they are less than 50% of the thickness of the tendon. Full thickness (complete) tears generally will not heal on their own and will often enlarge with time.
A 29-year-old member asked:

What do they do for a tear of the rotater cuff?

4 doctor answers7 doctors weighed in
Dr. Shawn Hennigan
Orthopedic Surgery 28 years experience
Cuff tear: Rotator cuff tendon tears are usually diagnosed when a patient presents with pain and weakness. Asymptommatic tears are usually left alone. Initial treatment includes nsaids, pt, and sometimes cortisone injection. Tears that continue to be painful despite these things, or when associated with persistent or progressive weakness, surgical repair is usuall recommended.
A 37-year-old member asked:

What happens when you tear your rotator cuff?

2 doctor answers4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Allen Lu
Dr. Allen Luanswered
Orthopedic Surgery 25 years experience
Functional loss: The rotator cuff typically tears at the insertion where it attaches to the humerus bone (ball part of the ball and socket). Since it stabilizes the shoulder, a tear doesn't allow the large muscles of the shoulder (deltoids) to function correctly and indirectly causes weakness and pain. A rotator cuff tear does not heal itself and usually requires surgery to reattach the tendon to the bone.
Dr. Vivek Agrawal
Orthopedic Surgery 32 years experience
Mar 20, 2013
Last updated Apr 7, 2019
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