Can a Torn Rotator Cuff Heal on Its Own?
One of the most common questions that I hear from patients after we’ve informed them, and that they find themselves in that unfortunate position of having a rotator cuff tear, is whether or not it will heal on its own. And, that’s a kind of complicated question because there are varying degrees of rotator cuff tears.
But, in general terms, the rotator cuff is a structure that’s at a kind of risk for tearing for a couple of reasons… and one of those reasons is that the blood supply at the insertion of the rotator cuff on our humerus, or the ball of the shoulder joint, is very poor. And so, in order for things to heal, we need to have a robust blood supply so that the body’s normal healing factors can make it to that zone of injury and help that tendon heal. In general terms, the rotator cuff insertion is what we call a watershed zone. It has a poor blood supply and therefore, it has a very poor innate healing ability.
So, most of the time, in order to get these tendons to heal, if the tear is significant enough, it’s going to require a surgical intervention.