When partial tear became full, or when full tears spread by >5 mm – it was more likely to become symptomatic. It was suggested that “Further research is warranted to investigate the role of prophylactic treatment of asymptomatic shoulders to avoid the development of pain and loss of shoulder function.” – ie when does one repair these asymptomatic tears – early or when they hurt?
J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2010 Nov;92(16):2623-2633.
Symptomatic Progression of Asymptomatic Rotator Cuff Tears: A Prospective Study of Clinical and Sonographic Variables
Mall NA, Kim HM, Keener JD, Steger-May K, Teefey SA, Middleton WD, Stobbs G, Yamaguchi K
- “With pain development, the size of a full-thickness rotator cuff tear increased significantly, with 18% of the full-thickness tears showing an increase of >5 mm, and 40% of the partial-thickness tears had progressed to a full-thickness tear.”
Comment – Surgeons keep complaining that it is too late when full thickness tears are over 4 months. One would have to book surgery when one had a partial tear, and after the 2-3 year wait, it may have converted itself to full thickness tear – and be just be the right timing for surgery… Boy am I getting cynical…