I had a partial tear to rotator cuff. Opted for physical therapy rather than surgery. After several weeks of therapy still some stiffness. Will the stiffness ever go away?
Yes. Partial rotator cuff tears are often treatable with therapy, but may take 6-12 weeks to improve. Oral and/or injectable steroids are helpful and may speed recovery. If non-operative treatment fails, arthroscopic surgery works quite well. The inflamed bursa and partial rotator cuff tear will be debrided. Bone spurs are also removed. The typical recovery is 3-4 months.
Takes some work. Stiffness of the shoulder is a natural reaction to a rotator cuff tear. The capsule of the joint tends to shrink down and you find that you have a restricted range of motion. It is important to actually do the exercises your pt instructs you at home, not just at the office, in order to stretch the tightened capsule. A steroid injection by your doctor may be especially helpful.
It should. It is perfectly reasonable to try to rehabilitate a partial-thickness rotator cuff tear. However, it is likely that you will need more than a few weeks of therapy for the stiffness to resolve. If the stiffness persists or if your pain returns despite a few months of therapy, you may need to revisit the idea of surgery.
Likely. Most patients with a partial tear of the rotator cuff improve greatly from pt, anti-inflammatory medication, and an occasional steroid injection. If the stiffness is not improving, a frozen shoulder may have developed or the tear may have progressed depending on the physical exam. See an orthopaedic surgeon for an evaluation to help determine if progress is taking place.
Yes and no. It is possible that your shoulder will loosen up with continued pt. Having surgery does not guarantee full rom. Often times people remain tight after surgery for months and months. If your pain is improved and function is very good then stick with nonpperative treatment. If you have plateaud and are frustrated think about surgery and talk to your surgeon. Thanks.