Conservative treatment, including exercise therapy, is often offered as an initial management approach for patients with full thickness rotator cuff tears. Remarkably, it has been observed in patients whose repairs fail after surgical repair, that reported satisfaction levels and clinical outcome scores are similar to those with intact repairs. The authors of this study suggest that the reason for these findings is that because most of the patients in these studies engaged in some form of structured post-operative physical therapy, that it is possible that the post-operative rehabilitation is more responsible for the improvements in outcome. The primary objectives of non-operative management of a rotator cuff tear are to decrease pain, increase function and enhance activities of daily living (while mitigating potential long term adverse outcomes). Until recently, insufficient evidence existed justifying the need and importance for conservative management of rotator cuff tears.

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