History and Physical Exam
In most patients, the diagnosis of a massive rotator cuff tear can be made based solely on the history and physical exam. To determine adequate treatment options, the clinician must determine if the patient’s chief complaint is pain, weakness, or a combination of both. On physical exam, it is important to determine if the patient is able to elevate their arm above horizontal. If they cannot elevate, an injection of local anesthetic may be beneficial to determine if there is pain inhibition accounting for the patient’s weakness. Comfort with specific rotator cuff muscle strength testing and identifying an external rotation lag are essential in making a diagnosis and developing a treatment plan. This comfort is gained with experience.
KeywordsRotator Cuff Rotator Cuff Repair Biceps Tendon Shoulder Girdle Passive Range
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