The Luna App

Available in

Get App
Call Us 866-806-3599

Physical therapy for rotator cuff tears

What are rotator cuff tears?

Affecting almost 2 million people in the United States each year, rotator cuff tears are a common source of shoulder pain and disability among adults.

The rotator cuff, a group of four tendons that cover the head of the humerus, keeps the arm in the shoulder socket and allows the arm to be lifted and rotated. However, when one or more of the rotator cuff tendons is torn, it will no longer fully attach to the head of the humerus, often resulting in pain and limited mobility.

Source: OrthoInfo

Rotator cuff tears symptoms

Rotator cuff tears occur either suddenly or gradually. Sudden tears, such as those that result from a fall, cause intense, acute pain. Patients will usually feel a snapping sensation and immediate upper arm weakness.

Gradual tears, on the other hand, are usually due to overuse. Patients will initially feel mild pain when they lift or rotate their arm. At first, over-the-counter pain relievers will be sufficient to relieve the pain. However, over time, the pain may become more noticeable, even while the patient is at rest, and can interfere with routine activities.

The most common symptoms of rotator cuff tears include:

  • Pain at rest or at night
  • Pain when lifting, lowering, or rotating the arm
  • Weakness in the arm
  • Crackling sensation in the arm with certain movements

Source: OrthoInfo

What causes rotator cuff tears?

The two main causes of a rotator cuff tear are injury and degeneration. Trauma to the shoulder, like a fall or a direct blow, can cause a sudden rotator cuff tear. Degenerative tears can occur over time due to repetitive overhead activities, including swimming, weightlifting, painting, or tennis.

Rotator cuff tears are more likely to develop in middle-aged or older patients, as the tendons in the shoulder weaken and break down with age.

The most common causes of rotator cuff tears include:

  • Traumatic shoulder injury
  • Repetitive overhead arm motion
  • Advanced age

Source: Cedars-Sinai

Physical therapy for rotator cuff tears

Although physical therapy alone can’t fully heal the condition, it’s often the recommended treatment for rotator cuff tears. That’s because the goal of rotator cuff tear treatment isn’t necessarily to heal the torn tendon, but rather to achieve pain relief, improve strength, and restore shoulder joint mechanics.

Rotator cuff physical therapy targets the small muscles around the shoulder that tend to be neglected in normal exercise and thus grow weak and vulnerable to breakage. For the vast majority of patients with rotator cuff tears, these exercises will help to relieve pain and strengthen the shoulder, obviating the need for surgical intervention.

Source: WebMD

The best rotator cuff tears physical therapists in
the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles

Luna’s physical therapists are experts in the treatment of rotator cuff tears. Our licensed PTs provide comprehensive treatment programs which combine guided stretches, manual treatment, and pain relief techniques to improve symptoms and provide relief to patients suffering from rotator cuff tears.

With Luna, patients can get rotator cuff tear treatment at home, at the office, at the gym, or at the location of their choosing. It’s physical therapy, delivered.

Download the app

Enter your mobile number and we’ll send you a link to download the app (iOS/Android).

Ready to book? Download the Luna App to manage your appointments, message the Luna Concierge and your physical therapist, and more.