Some treatments for a partial tear in the supraspinatus tendon are for the patient to modulate his activity when it involves his shoulder, rest, and gentle exercises and physical therapy to help the shoulder heal, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Other treatments are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or corticosteroid injections to relieve the pain.
In about half of the patients who've suffered a supraspinatus tendon tear, the nonsurgical treatment improves the functioning of their shoulder and eases the pain of the injury, claims the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. However, the consequences of nonsurgical treatment may mean that the patient permanently limits his activities and that the shoulder is never quite as strong as it was before the tear. Also, the tear could still grow.
Surgery is an option if the tear is deep, says the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. It is also an option if the shoulder is very weak and its functioning is very compromised, if the symptoms have not significantly improved after six to 12 months, and the tear was caused by an acute injury that happened recently. This is an injury that happens all at once and is often the result of an accident as opposed to a degenerative tear that happens over time and as a result of the aging process.