Symptoms of rotator cuff injuries are often treated with rest, ice, and physical therapy, explains Mayo Clinic. When such conservative measures fail to alleviate symptoms, steroid injections may be administered and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) can also be prescribed to relieve shoulder pain, reports WebMD.
Athletes most prone to rotator cuff injuries include baseball pitchers, swimmers, tennis and football players, according to WebMD. Most injuries result from falling on the shoulder, using an arm to break a fall and lifting heavy weights.
Complete tears of the rotator cuff can require surgery, which often involves repairing and reattaching the torn tendon or a replacement to the bone of the upper arm, according to Mayo Clinic. Bone spurs irritating tendons of the rotator cuff can be removed through arthroscopy, and the damaged tendon smoothed. Severe injuries associated with arthritis of the joint may require shoulder replacement surgery.
Recovery from a rotator cuff tear can range from weeks to months, with recovery from surgery taking even longer, explains WebMD. Physical therapy exercises help to restore flexibility and strength to the shoulder after rotator cuff injuries; resuming previous activity is dependent on obtaining lack of pain, regaining near normal range of motion, equalling the strength of the uninvolved shoulder and reaching previous functional level.