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  • Rotator Cuff

    Recently diagnosed with a partial thickness rotator cuff tear. The doctor wants me to do about a month of physical therapy to see if that alleviates pain (instead of jumping right into surgery). Has anyone here tried to deal with this using only physical therapy, and if so what was the result?

  • #2
    Well, you should follow your Dr's recommendations or get a 2nd opinion from another surgeon. However, I will say that I had similar back around 2006. It "seemed" to heal ok from the pt but a couple years later I had a complete blowout of my shoulder. I often wonder if it could be because it may never have healed correctly the 1st time. Just my experience.
    -KidRok-
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    • #3
      In addition to totally agreeing with what KidRok said - I will add that a partial thickness tear won't "completely heal" after 1 month of therapy, and it may never completely heal... but it will give you an idea of whether or not you will be able to heal without surgery.

      Most good PTs will be able to tell you right away if you should be having surgery if it is obvious - and after a few weeks you'll know for sure.

      Definitely shop around and ask your PT for shoulder doctor recommendations. If someone comes to me from a "questionable" shoulder doc I will often give them a list of good docs for a second opinion.

      On the plus side: A partial thickness tear usually doesn't require a "full repair", and the recovery from the surgery is dramatically quicker and less painful than a full repair.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by KidRok View Post
        Well, you should follow your Dr's recommendations or get a 2nd opinion from another surgeon. However, I will say that I had similar back around 2006. It "seemed" to heal ok from the pt but a couple years later I had a complete blowout of my shoulder. I often wonder if it could be because it may never have healed correctly the 1st time. Just my experience.
        Thanks for the reply KidRok. I will definitely listen to my doctor and not go about this on my own. Sorry to hear about your shoulder, that is exactly what I fear may happen with mine. I would like to be able to be pain free so I can get back into a normal routine in the gym, but I don't want to reinjure it even once it feels like everything is ok. I assume you reinjured yours while in the gym?

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        • #5
          Originally posted by PTAaron View Post
          In addition to totally agreeing with what KidRok said - I will add that a partial thickness tear won't "completely heal" after 1 month of therapy, and it may never completely heal... but it will give you an idea of whether or not you will be able to heal without surgery.

          Most good PTs will be able to tell you right away if you should be having surgery if it is obvious - and after a few weeks you'll know for sure.

          Definitely shop around and ask your PT for shoulder doctor recommendations. If someone comes to me from a "questionable" shoulder doc I will often give them a list of good docs for a second opinion.

          On the plus side: A partial thickness tear usually doesn't require a "full repair", and the recovery from the surgery is dramatically quicker and less painful than a full repair.
          Thanks for the advice PTA. Neither the doc nor I believe it will heal within a months time, but he wants me to not burn any bridges when it comes to treatment, which I suppose is a wise option. I asked whether one month would be enough to determine pt's effectiveness, and he seems to think I will be able to tell whether it is helping me or not. If after a month's time I feel like it is helping, I will continuing attending pt, otherwise we will discuss alternative options. If you dont mind, could you give a rough estimation on how long it would take to heal something like this by using pt? Also, do you know if reinjury is a pretty common occurrence?

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          • #6
            Been there, done that.

            2 years ago I was diagnosed with a partial-thickness tear in my left rotator cuff. I spent about 6 weeks rehabbing before gradually beginning hard training again.

            A few months ago, I suffered a full-thickness tear in my right rotator cuff. Damn! Had surgery 6 weeks ago and am rehabbing it now. Doc expects me to have a full recovery.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by KyMuscle View Post
              Been there, done that.

              2 years ago I was diagnosed with a partial-thickness tear in my left rotator cuff. I spent about 6 weeks rehabbing before gradually beginning hard training again.

              A few months ago, I suffered a full-thickness tear in my right rotator cuff. Damn! Had surgery 6 weeks ago and am rehabbing it now. Doc expects me to have a full recovery.
              How did u tear it completely?
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              • #8
                Originally posted by KyMuscle View Post
                Been there, done that.

                2 years ago I was diagnosed with a partial-thickness tear in my left rotator cuff. I spent about 6 weeks rehabbing before gradually beginning hard training again.

                A few months ago, I suffered a full-thickness tear in my right rotator cuff. Damn! Had surgery 6 weeks ago and am rehabbing it now. Doc expects me to have a full recovery.
                Damn, some luck you have being its now the opposite shoulder . Good luck in your recovery. How is the left one holding up?

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                • #9
                  Tore the right one doing inclines, but that was the final straw and not the cause.... I suspect that heavy lateral raises had already done most of the damage.

                  The left one is holding up; I just have to keep up with my rehab and stretching.

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