Rotator cuff tears in Occupational injuries

  • Tuesday, February 25, 2014 12:31 PM
    Message # 1505606
    Deleted user
    I have recently had a number of individuals with RCTs that have had significant findings suggestive of their tears being much older than their acute injury. There is a large amount of research validating the presence of non-acute partial and full thickness tears which are asymptomatic, esp. as we age. On top of that, a significant number of tears can be managed successfully with PT providing outcomes as good or better than surgery. How are other providers handling RCTs and are the employers aggressively trying to determine the age of tears prior to treatment?  Roger
  • Tuesday, February 25, 2014 12:47 PM
    Reply # 1505618 on 1505606

    I typically send them to PT for 2 weeks, rest, and treat with NSAIDs before I even do an MRI. Then only do MRI for failure to respond, then after MRI decide to refer or continue to treat with PT.

    Surgery for an acute tear may be more appropriate but for some of these old chronic tendonitis/tears can be treated with PT/rest.




  • Wednesday, February 26, 2014 1:44 PM
    Reply # 1506456 on 1505606
    Deleted user

    Thanks Ed, yes I agree to wait on MRIs, in fact I may wait as long as 6 weeks depending on how they are responding to PT. Younger adults who appear to have tears I am generally more aggressive with but still will try Physical therapy depending on symptoms. I will be writing an article on this subject for the AAPA OM newsletter and am trying to gather some info. from other practitioners on their treatment protocols prior to that.

     My concern is that we are doing surgery on work comp. injury RCTs that are #1 not necessary for recovery, #2 being performed on individuals whose tear is obvious but is old and not related to the acute injury,#3 not appropriately using therapy prior to ortho. referral.

    We should be aggressively screening out old tears in WC shoulder injuries that are not related to the acute injury but may have only aggravated it and then treat appropriately to baseline.

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