If you’ve aged successfully into your 80’s, you may have shoulder injury you don’t even know about, Elizabeth Tracey reports


If you’re in your eighties, you may be among the one in two of your peers who have shoulder injuries you just aren’t aware of. Edward McFarland, head of shoulder surgery at Johns Hopkins, explains.

McFarland: Over 50% of people over the age of 80 have torn rotator cuffs and they don't even know it because they don't have any symptoms, probably because they don't do a lot. But the tears are not too unlike this old seat of your pants. It's not that the tissue tore off, it's just missing and so when you have a tear like this trying to sew it back together, you can imagine the stitches sometimes don't hold or don't heal. The good news and bad news though is depending on your activity you can actually function pretty well with a lot of your rotator cuff missing, but it all depends on what you do, which in the long term depends on your age.        :32

McFarland says many octogenarians with some degree of rotator cuff tear do just fine with no intervention. He encourages everyone to continue to stretch the joint since stiffness is common and gets worse with inactivity. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.