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Evidence-based Management of Rotator Cuff Tears (Acute and Chronic)

Abstract

Purpose of Review

This paper should serve as a guide for nonoperative physicians in the management of rotator cuff tears and provide an algorithm of when to refer patients for potential operative repair.

Recent Findings

While physical therapy remains the mainstay of conservative treatment, recent studies have examined various injections to improve pain and function in partial- and/or full-thickness rotator cuff tears, such as suprascapular nerve blocks, subacromial hyaluronic acid, and intratendinous platelet-rich plasma.

Summary

Patients who experience an acute, full-thickness rotator cuff tear should be referred as soon as possible for potential surgical repair; however, clinicians should consider the patient’s age and activity level. The algorithms for both acute partial-thickness tears and chronic degenerative rotator cuff tears are similar and should initially include a conservative approach of pain control, physical therapy, and potentially various injections before possible referral for surgical evaluation. We anticipate future research examining the role for biologic agents in the conservative treatment of rotator cuff tears.

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Pasculli, R.M., Bowers, R.L. Evidence-based Management of Rotator Cuff Tears (Acute and Chronic). Curr Phys Med Rehabil Rep 10, 239–247 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40141-022-00363-6

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Keywords

  • Rotator cuff tear
  • Rotator cuff disease
  • Nonoperative treatment
  • Conservative management