Pikes Peak Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine

2925 Professional Place STE 110, Colorado Springs, 80904   |  P. 719-445-0344   |  F. 719-445-0357   |   Email Us


P. 719-445-0344     |    Email Us

Rotator Cuff Tears

The rotator cuff consists of a group of tendons in the shoulder joint that provide support and enable wide range of motion. Major injury to these tendons may result in tear of these tendons, called as rotator cuff tear. It is one of the most common causes of shoulder pain in middle aged adults and older individuals.

Causes & Symptoms

A rotator cuff tear results from pressure on the rotator cuff from part of the shoulder blade (scapula) as the arm is lifted. It may occur with repeated use of arm for overhead activities, while playing sports or during motor accidents.

A rotator cuff tear causes severe pain, weakness of the arm, and crackling sensation on moving the shoulder in certain positions. There may be stiffness, swelling, loss of movement and tenderness in the front of the shoulder.


Your surgeon diagnoses a rotator cuff tear based on a physical examination, X-rays and imaging studies, such as an MRI. A rotator cuff tear is best viewed on a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).


Conservative Treatment Options

  • Rest
  • Shoulder sling
  • Pain medication injection of a steroid (cortisone) and a local anesthetic in the subacromial space of the affected shoulder to help decrease the inflammation and pain
  • Physical therapy

Surgical Treatment Options

Rotator cuff repair may be performed by open surgery or an arthroscopic procedure. In arthroscopy, space for rotator cuff tendons will be increased and the cuff tear is repaired using suture anchors. These anchor sutures help in attaching the tendons to the shoulder bone. Following the surgery, you may be advised to practice motion and strengthening exercises.