The rotator cuff are the muscles and tendons that connect the shoulder to the upper arm. According to the Mayo Clinic, the rotator cuff allows the shoulder joint to have the greatest range of motion of any joint in the body. Rotator cuff injuries are common in sports such as baseball, but it can also occur with repeated arm activities such as lifting heavy objects and placing objects above your head. While a partial rotator cuff tear will likely heal on its own, surgery is often required for a complete tear.
See your doctor if you think you've torn your rotator cuff. Look for symptoms such as pain in your shoulder, a loss of range in movement and weakness in the shoulder. The pain involved with a completely torn rotator cuff will likely be severe.
Discuss your options with your doctor. Surgery for a complete tear is most successful in the first months following the injury. If you wait too long, the retracted muscle may scar into place and become difficult to set back in place.
Undergo the surgery where the muscles are pulled back into place with stitches and bioabsorbable anchors. If the thickest part of the tendon is completely torn, the doctor will suture the two sides of the tendon back together. If the tendon is completely torn away from where it inserts into the bone of the arm, the doctor will suture it directly to the bone.
Wear a sling for the first three to six weeks following the procedure, depending on how fast you heal. Try not to use the arm unless completely necessary.
Begin doing strengthening exercises prescribed to you by your doctor about six weeks following the surgery. See a physical therapist, if possible, to help you recover. You should be able to return to normal activities three to six months following the procedure.