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Physical therapy for a rotator cuff rupture.

The diagnosis of a rotator cuff rupture is established through interview, examination and possibly echographic research. Whether the rupture is treated surgically depends on several factors. Either way a tear in one of the rotator cuff muscles eventually leads to a rehabilitation program with a physical therapist and a recovery time of four to six months.

A rotator cuff rupture is caused by the (partial) tearing of one of the four muscles surrounding the shoulder. It is a common condition in people 60 and older and is caused by the body's natural aging process. Approximately 25% of people over the age of 60 have a rupture of one of the rotator cuff muscles. Fortunately, at least two-thirds of these people have no symptoms at all. Risk factors for rotator cuff rupture are smoking and high cholesterol. In addition, a hereditary-genetic component also plays a role. Rotator cuff rupture also occurs in athletic younger people (30-50 years). Here, the cause is often a injury during sports such as some form of strength training but also sports where the risk of falling is greater. Think of mountain biking or snowboarding.

Physio Fitaal physical therapy for rotator cuff rupture in Tilburg

In the case of a tear in one of the rotator cuff muscles, the following symptoms are often present: pain, loss of strength and limitation in movement of the shoulder/ arm. Often lifting up is not a good option.

PASTA lesion:

PASTA stands for Partial Articular Supraspinatus Tendon Avulsion. When there is a PASTA lesion, the tendon of the supraspinatus is not completely torn but only the lower layer has become detached from the bone. This injury occurs almost exclusively at a younger age as a result of a major accident. This variant is less easy to examine and can often only be confirmed by means of a MRI.


If the choice is made not to operate, a rehabilitation program follows at the physical therapist. It will then take an average of four months until function and strength are reasonably recovered. Total rehabilitation is quite long, full recovery of function is often not achieved until 5 to 6 months. Full tendon recovery requires at least 12 weeks. Until then, it is necessary to avoid major strength efforts.


The diagnosis for a rotator cuff rupture is made on the basis of an interview combined with typical symptoms and physical examination. The physical therapist performs a number of specific tests to determine if there is a rupture and which muscle is affected. In addition to these tests, ultrasound help in making a diagnosis. Our bodies are subject to wear and tear as we age. It is normal from a certain age to sometimes see tears in tendon tissue. Therefore, we must remain cautious in what stamp we put on some symptoms.

Physical therapy for rotator cuff rupture Physio Fitaal Tilburg

A torn tendon will not heal on its own but neither is it always operated on right away. Which treatment method is chosen depends on several factors. Often good steps can be made in recovery with physical therapy. The goal of physiotherapy will be to improve the strength of surrounding muscles and reduce pain symptoms using mobilizations and exercise therapy. Sometimes this is done in combination with pain medication (NSAIDs). If surgery is chosen, the severed tendon will be returned to its original position (as close as possible). Thereafter, the physiotherapist will in the first phase provide an increase in mobility, slowly also working to restore strength.


A crack in one of the rotator cuff is more common in people who play sports where there is a greater risk of injury. Think falls or large peak loads. But there can also be a natural process. From the age of 60 we see that the quality of tendon tissue decreases, which can cause injuries to occur more quickly. Ultrasound can help in making a correct diagnosis especially when there is a big fall or when there is great force on the tendon through peak loading. The rehabilitation will always consist of gradually increasing dexterity and slowly regaining it. train in effect.

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