One of the most common shoulder problems is rotator cuff injury. This can occur when one of the tendon in your shoulder’s rotator cuff muscles is torn or damaged, usually through an activity of some kind.

Rotator cuff injuries can happen suddenly, such as when carrying a lifting a heavy load. Most often, however, a tear is a result of repetitive micro-trauma, in which the same movement continues over several weeks or longer.  Painters, labourers and athletes are also prone to this type of injury, and can be at a significant disadvantage if they lose the use of their shoulder.

Healing Time for Rotator Cuff Injury

Rotator cuff injury healing time all depends on the extent of the injury, and how quickly it is treated after the first symptoms are noticed. Other factors may also come into play, such as the age and health of the patient, medications, previous injuries, and the type of treatment applied to the injury.

The rotator cuff is an important group of muscles involved with the control and stability of the shoulder. These muscles work together to maintain “centralization” of the shoulder joint. This simply means that they keep the shoulder ball in place over the small socket. This centralization helps to reduce the risk of other shoulder injuries such as shoulder dislocation or rotator cuff impingement.

Early signs of rotator cuff injury include bruising or swelling. This is a result of the straining or pinching of the tendons in the cuff area, which tend to injure the soft tissue.

Because the rotator cuff tendons are only separated by a few millimeters from the acromion (the bony head of the joint), any inflammation and swelling from the injury can worse the impingement. This can lead to more ‘squeezing’ of the rotator cuff tendons, and possibly further injury.

Treating rotator cuff problems is best done by a qualified physiotherapist. When managed appropriately with rest and rehabilitation, rotator cuff injury healing time can be significantly reduced. Small to medium-sized tears usually heal successfully within a few weeks. Exercises are usually prescribed the help restore motility and function to the shoulder area.

However, in the event of large tears, surgery may be necessary. This can draw out the rotator cuff injury healing time by several weeks or even months.

Recovering from Rotator Cuff Treatment

Treating rotator cuff problems when fresh – that is, as as soon as possible – allows for maximum recovery. Delaying treatment will only cause further damage, particularly if your rotator cuff tendon begins to retract. This can make repair surgery more complicated and less likely to succeed. The injury can also deteriorate more quickly if your continue using your shoulder, especially for work or sport.

A full rehabilitation program must be completed before regaining the full use of your shoulder. It’s also important to seek help from only a qualified practitioner, as injuries can be made worse by inappropriate treatment.

The good news is that in most cases, patients fully recover from rotator cuff injury and go back to their normal activities.

The key is treatment, rest and patience!