Shoulder Tendon Tear

May 02, 2023

Table of contents

What is a shoulder tendon tear?

Shoulder tear is one of the health problems that can be seen in people of all ages. The shoulder joint, which is frequently used in daily life, has a complex structure. The shoulder structure consisting of 4 joints, 3 bones and 26 muscles is vulnerable to injuries. Early treatment of a shoulder tear is important for the comfort of life of patients.

Tearing of the rotator cuff muscles surrounding the shoulder joints is called a shoulder tendon tear. Thanks to these muscles, the shoulder has much more mobility than other joints. However, many factors can cause this muscle tissue to tear and prevent the joint from moving in a balanced manner.

How does a shoulder tendon tear occur?

The wear and tear of the tendons surrounding the bones in the shoulder is called shoulder tear. Shoulder tendon tears, which usually occur with sudden and forceful movements, are more common especially in older individuals. Because tendons wear out over time. This makes the tendons more vulnerable to injury.

Who has a shoulder tendon tear?

Shoulder tendon tears are usually seen in people who perform heavy and repetitive movements. For this reason, it is often seen in basketball players, carpenters, painters, volleyball players, bodybuilders and construction workers. In addition, shoulder tendon rupture is one of the diseases that can be seen in people of all ages and walks of life.

Symptoms of shoulder tendon rupture

Symptoms of shoulder tendon tears negatively affect the daily lives of patients. They should therefore be treated as soon as possible. Symptoms of shoulder tendon tears include the following:

  • Chronic pain
  • Pain
  • Burning sensation
  • Pain at rest
  • Muscle weakness
  • Difficulty in performing daily activities
  • Desire to immobilize the shoulder
  • Limitation of movement
  • Friction noise in the shoulder joint
  • Inability to move the path to the side or lift it up
  • Shape disorders
  • Arm weakness

These symptoms worsen without treatment.

Causes of shoulder tendon rupture

Among the causes of shoulder tendon tears are the following:

  • Protrusion of the bone under the acromion bone caused by advanced age
  • Insufficient blood flow
  • Repetitive movements
  • Lie down
  • Throwing
  • Heavy lifting
  • Traumatic events in the shoulders and arms
  • Falling
  • Impact
  • Advanced age

How is a shoulder tendon tear diagnosed?

The most common complaint seen in people who consult a doctor with suspected shoulder tendon rupture is shoulder pain. Patients who consult a doctor are first subjected to a detailed physical examination. In addition, since shoulder tendon tears can cause problems in the neck area, this area should also be examined during the examination.

After the physical examination, imaging methods such as MRI and X-ray are also used. In this process, the presence of rheumatic diseases or traumas in patients should also be examined. The last method to be used in the diagnosis of shoulder tendon tears is arthroscopic evaluations.

Shoulder tendon rupture treatment methods

In the treatment of a shoulder tendon tear, the general health status of the patient and the degree of the tear should be taken into account. While conservative treatment is sufficient for minimal tears, surgical treatment options should be considered for large tears.

There are many different treatment methods for shoulder tendon tears. Rest is especially recommended for tears caused by overuse of the shoulder joint. In addition, medications are prescribed to remove the edema in the area and to control the pain.

In shoulder tendon tears, immobilization of the shoulders of the patients may cause weakening of the joint. For this, patients are recommended various exercises. Performing these exercises with physiotherapists who are experts in their field will prevent further damage to the shoulder joint.

Corticosteroid injections may also be included in the treatment to control the severe pain caused by shoulder tendon tears. Ultrasound is also part of the treatment. The heating feature of the device allows the healing process to take place faster.

Arthroscopy is one of the methods used both in the diagnosis and treatment of shoulder tears. For this, an incision of about 1 centimeter is made in the shoulder area. It then allows the condition of the tendons to be visualized and treated with imaging devices and special equipment.

In addition to these, shoulder tendon tears can also be treated with a mini open repair procedure. For this, several small incisions are made in the joints. Tissue transfer or grafting is performed in accordance with the planning made.

Shoulder tendon tear surgery

One of the most frequently used treatment methods for shoulder tendon tears is surgical treatment. When planning the operation, the cause of the tear and the degree of symptoms it causes are important. Surgery is resorted to because patients’ daily lives are severely affected due to complaints such as intense pain or inability to move the arm, as well as because other treatment methods have failed to produce results.

The conditions necessary for shoulder tendon tear surgery to be performed include the following:

  • Patients persist for more than 6 months
  • The tear is larger than 1 centimeter in the imaging methods used
  • The patient experiences severe loss of strength
  • The patient experiences excruciating pain

Shoulder tendon tear surgeries are one of the surgeries performed under general anesthesia. During surgery, patients are in a lying or sitting position. In these surgeries, which can be performed with both closed and open methods, if the closed method is applied, the tear is repaired by entering through a small disc with special cameras and equipment.

After shoulder tendon rupture surgery, which takes approximately 1 to 2 hours, patients should follow the doctor’s recommendations meticulously. Patients should be especially careful about the duration of arm suspension and exercises.

As with other surgeries, shoulder tendon rupture surgeries involve some risks. Since it is performed under general anesthesia, there are risks that may be caused by anesthesia, as well as risks such as bleeding and infection, especially in open surgeries.

Shoulder tendon treatment with PRP

PRP treatment, which has significant success in the treatment of musculoskeletal diseases, is one of the methods used in the treatment of shoulder tendon rupture. Growth factors and cytokines in the blood accumulate at the top of the tube thanks to the centrifugation process applied for 15 minutes with the PRP tube of 8-10 cc of blood taken from the patients. These platelets are then taken with an injector and injected into the damaged shoulder tissues of the patients.

The PRP method is a method applied not for pain relief, but for the repair and treatment of damaged tissue. The healing effect of the injection starts after 15 minutes. Patients experience the first signs of recovery within the first week and full recovery occurs after approximately 1 month. How long it takes to get results after the PRP procedure depends on the size of the tear in the tendon, the importance it gives to shoulder health and its age.

How many sessions is PRP treatment applied?

At least 3 sessions of PRP treatment is recommended in shoulder tendon tear treatments. The interval between sessions should be at least 5 and at most 21 days. The reason why these periods are important is that the cells renew themselves in 21-day periods. In this way, the benefit to be obtained from PRP treatment is maximized.

Exercise in the treatment of shoulder tendon rupture

Exercise is of great importance in shoulder tendon tears. However, these exercises should be performed under expert supervision. Creating a qualified exercise program and following this program regularly ensures that the shoulder joint is strengthened and recovery takes place in a short time.

Things to consider when exercising

The points to be considered and applied in the exercises to be performed in the treatment of shoulder tears and later to protect the health of the shoulder joint are as follows:

  • Exercises should be done under the supervision of a doctor.
  • Weights should not be lifted during exercise.
  • The shoulder joint should not be strained.
  • Warm-ups must be done before you start exercising.
  • Overhead arm movements should be avoided.
  • Swimming and similar exercises should be preferred.
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