So many people have heard about Rotator Cuff tears. And so many people fear them. But actually, tears in the rotator cuff have been found to be more common than we realise. And not only that, but they can happen without us even knowing about it especially as we age.
In the research below, people who did not have any shoulder pain or dysfunction were given a scan. What they realised was that rotator cuff tears, must to a certain extent be regarded as a “normal” degenerative change. Just because someone has a rotator cuff tear does not necessarily mean that it is the main cause of pain or functional impairment.
The reason for this conclusion?
They found evidence of a rotator cuff tear in:
13% of those aged 50 to 59 years
20% of those aged 60 to 69 years
31% in those aged 70 to 79 years
51% in those aged 80 years or more
This is an astonishingly high rate of rotator cuff tears in people with asymptomatic shoulders and also demonstrating that these changes increase as we age.
Of course there is much more research needed as it is still unclear what actually changes an asymptomatic rotator cuff tear into a symptomatic tear. But as always we need to treat each individual case separately.