Rotator Cuff Tear – 3 Things You MUST Know!

Certain shoulder injuries can be extremely painful and may cause a large disruption in one’s life. One of these shoulder injuries is the rotator cuff tear. When people say they have a “rotator cuff tear” they usually are referring to a tear of the supraspinatus tendon. The supraspinatus is one of four muscles that make up the rotator cuff.

Why Does a Rotator Cuff Tear Hurt So Bad?

Muscles of the Rotator Cuff

Muscles of the Rotator Cuff

The rotator cuff serves two functions; move the shoulder joint and keep the humerus or arm bone sitting correctly in the socket. The vast majority of  muscles are responsible for movement; however the rotator cuff has the job of keeping the ball in the socket as well. Therefore anytime you are in an upright position, a rotator cuff tear will hurt as it tries to keep the ball inside of the socket. When a rotator cuff tears what are the treatment options?

I Have a Rotator Cuff Tear, Now What?

1) The first and most conservative approach is physical therapy. PT for a rotator cuff tear should always be the first line of defense unless a full thickness (complete) tear occurs.

2) If a surgeon wants to operate on a partial rotator cuff tear, seek another opinion. I usually seek 3 opinions.

3) A full thickness (complete) tear or very large partial thickness often will require surgery. This surgery involves a reattaching of the tendon to the bone. Rotator cuff surgery involves one of the most painful and delicate rehabilitations in orthopedics. A rotator cuff surgery rehab will take 3-6 months depending on the orthopedic surgeon and physical therapist team.

 Remember just as fixing cars is a business, fixing people is too. We have all been to the car dealership for a noise and end up paying triple than what we expected. Find 3 opinions from orthopedic surgeons. Surgeons do surgery, they have spent a major part of their lives learning how to perform surgery. When talking to an orthopedic surgeon for a rotator cuff repair, remember surgery is what pays their bills. Ask if you can try physical therapy before surgery. Do not just go to the physical therapist or physical therapy clinic they tell you to go to. A lot of orthopedic surgeons around the country just as in my town own physical therapy clinics in Tampa, Wesley Chapel, FL area. Therefore they make money on sending you to their physical therapy clinic. Stay informed!

Check out this video of Dr. Whelton discussing shoulder pain treatment!


Be Well!

Ryan Whelton, MSPT, DPT


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Author: Sport and Spine PT

Ryan Whelton has developed a true breakthrough that often instantly dramatically decreases or eliminates pain, increases range of motion and decreases muscle spasm all in just seconds to minutes. Patients also experience an accelerated healing rate. Education Northeastern University; Doctor of Physical Therapy Northeastern University; M.S. in Physical Therapy Northeastern University; B.S. in Rehabilitation Science Subspecialties Chronic Pain Back and Neck Pain Sports Injuries (including high-level ballerinas, gymnasts, baseball, football, soccer, basketball) TMJ/Jaw Pain Migraine/Tension Headaches Injury Prevention in Adolescents Veterans Hospital (Tampa, FL) Ryan spent almost 3 years rehabilitating our nation's veterans and active duty soldiers returning from war. He had the opportunity to rehab injuries most PTs never see in their career. Rehabilitating soldiers with orthopedic injuries, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injures, soldiers with burns, soldiers who are single and double amputees, chronic pain, cardiac rehabilitation, post surgical patients. Boston Celtics and Boston Bruins (NBA, NHL) Ryan worked alongside their head athletic trainers/physical therapists, at their clinic, and courtside, providing premier care for top athletes. New England Patriots (NFL) As an employee, he provided physical therapy to professional football players training for their upcoming season, at practice, before games, and during the Super Bowl. College Football (Division IA, ACC) The private physical therapist/personal trainer for the leading rusher in the history of Boston College. NFL Draft Trained athletes in New Orleans preparing themselves for grueling workouts and testing of the NFL combine. Ryan also trained athletes in New Orleans preparing for the NFL Draft, rehabilitating their injuries and increasing speed, strength and overall wellness. Radio Co-Host Ryan can be heard on the radio speaking to over a quarter of a million listeners, Saturdays on 860 AM "The Home Team." Due to his extensive experience in professional sports and working with other high level athletes he was asked to co-host the show as the official "Injury and Rehabilitation Expert" by "The Home Team." The show is hosted by arena voice of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Orlando Magic and press box voice of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers , Paul Porter. Personal Throughout his life he has not only been the clinician, but the patient. These experiences have given him a unique perspective on how he approaches and treats patients. He is able to better empathize with people who are in pain and/or disability. As a full scholarship collegiate athlete, he learned to juggle the rigors of 7.5 years of physical therapy school, with his athletic obligations, family and friends. This taught him how to create balance in his life while still striving to achieve his goals. Outside of Work When not working, Ryan loves; spending time with his wife, Jill, and son, Cameron. He also enjoys scuba diving, yoga, running, lifting weights, fishing, golfing, skiing, Aikido, yoga, Pilates, mountain biking, dog training and spending time at the beach. Ryan likes to travel and is trying to see as much of the world as he can.

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