At Your Appointment

Rotator Cuff Tear Appointment Guide

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Ask the right questions at your next doctor’s appointment. Answer two questions below to personalize your appointment guide.
  • Has your pain improved? What number would you give it on a scale of 1 to 10?
  • Are you having any pain with activity? With rest?
  • Do you have any weakness in your shoulder?
  • How would you rate your shoulder strength? Good, fair or poor?
  • Do you have any amount of shoulder stiffness?
  • Can you move your shoulder through its full range of motion?
  • How did your shoulder pain start? Was it gradual or did it start immediately after an injury?
  • Can you rate your pain on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the worst pain you have ever had?
  • Where exactly is your shoulder pain? Can you point to it?
  • What makes the pain better or worse? Are there specific movements that make it worse?
  • Does the pain go into your neck or down into your arm?
  • Are you having any numbness, tingling or weakness in your arm?
  • How well is your medication controlling your pain?
  • What treatments have you tried so far? How successful have they been?
  • What new symptoms are you experiencing?
  • Have you recently started a new activity or exercise? Have you intensified an existing activity?
  • Do my symptoms mean I have a rotator cuff tear?
  • How do you diagnose a rotator cuff tear?
  • What treatments are available for a rotator cuff tear?
  • Is it likely that I have other injuries?
  • Should I see an orthopedic surgeon or other specialist?
  • What kind of rotator cuff tear do I have?
  • What treatment do you recommend for my rotator cuff tear and why?
  • Can physical therapy help my rotator cuff tear? How long will I need it?
  • How likely is it that my rotator cuff tear will heal without surgery?
  • When do you recommend surgery for a rotator cuff tear?
  • How can I protect my shoulder and prevent future injuries?
  • Could a different medicine relieve my pain better?
  • Could my new or different symptoms be related to my rotator cuff tear?
  • What is the best treatment for my specific rotator cuff injury?
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Last Review Date: 2018 Nov 5
  1. 5 Questions to Ask Your Physician About Rotator Cuff Tears. American Medical Society for Sports Medicine. https://www.amssm.org/5-questions-to-ask-your-physician-about-rotator-cuff-tears-va-30.html
  2. Rotator Cuff Injuries. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/rotator-cuff-injury/symptoms-causes/syc-20350225
  3. Rotator Cuff Tears. American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases--conditions/rotator-cuff-tears/
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