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How is a torn tendon in your shoulder repaired?

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Quick Answer

A torn tendon in the shoulder can be repaired and treated nonsurgically by applying cold packs for 20 minutes several times a day and taking anti-inflammatory medications, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Rest and limited activity may also help limit swelling and pain.

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Full Answer

Physical therapy is a common treatment to restore and strengthen the shoulder's movement, explains the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Pain from a torn tendon in the shoulder tends to resolve over time and may not be bothersome to some people.

Surgical treatment may be necessary in rare cases and is typically appropriate for individuals who require complete recovery of the strength of the shoulder, such as manual laborers or athletes, states the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Surgery involves a minimal incision to re-anchor torn tendons back to the bone. Following surgery, patients are immobilized and fitted for a sling. The rehabilitation plan includes exercises to improve range of motion and increase strength through physical therapy sessions.

Symptoms of a torn tendon in the shoulder include sharp or sudden pain in the upper arm; cramping within the muscles of the arm; weakness in the elbow and shoulder; and an audible snap or pop, notes the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Some individuals may also notice bruising in the upper arm and a bulge above the elbow.

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