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A 33-year-old member asked:

can a rotator cuff tear heal on its own without surgery? what do i have to do?

3 doctor answers4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Peter Ihle
Orthopedic Surgery 54 years experience
No: A rotator cuff tear is like a tear in ur jeans. It only gets bigger unless u take it 2 a seamstres and have it repaired. It may sail along 4 a while and then like catching ur foot in the hole in the jeans, it sudenly gets bigger and the cuff pain is suddenly worse. Get it fixed!
Dr. Vivek Agrawal
Orthopedic Surgery 31 years experience
Depends: http://www.theshouldercenter.com/rotator-cuff-tear.htm an acute injury can result in significant weakness but not mean that there is a large tear. We need more information and a clearer extent of pathology and diagnosis. A drop arm test by itself is not sufficient to make the decision for surgery. Consider a more detailed evaluation with a shoulder specialist to review your options.
Dr. Brian Chimenti
Sports Medicine 27 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.

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Similar questions

Grand Rapids, MI
A 18-year-old male asked:

What can I do for my rotator cuff tear it seems to be getting worse but my personal doctor doesn't want to do any surgery to it because of my age?

2 doctor answers3 doctors weighed in
Dr. Ahmed Elkoulily
Internal Medicine 36 years experience
Orthopedic consult: You need to see an orthopedic doctor to evaluate you for surgery.
A 48-year-old member asked:

Rotator cuff tear surgery, how does it recover?

2 doctor answers3 doctors weighed in
Dr. Don Buford
Orthopedic Surgery 28 years experience
General averages..: Patients move their elbow, wrist and hand immediately. No active shoulder motion for about 6 weeks. Between 6 weeks and 3 months patients are in therapy working on getting motion back to normal. After 3 months motion is close to normal and primary therapy is for strength. These are general and vary with patient age and size of tear sometimes. Return to heavy lifting and sports at 6 mos
A 33-year-old member asked:

Will a full thickness rotator cuff tear always require surgery?

1 doctor answer3 doctors weighed in
Dr. Chad Zooker
Sports Medicine 17 years experience
Depends: Surgical treatment for full thickness rotator cuff tears (RCT) depends on age, activity level, pain level, weakness, and tear characteristics (size, location, amount of retraction, chronicity). Your orthopaedic surgeon will discuss these issues to help you decide if and when surgery is appropriate. 33 is very young to have a RCT and I usually recommend surgery for acute tears at this age.

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Last updated Feb 1, 2021
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