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Athletes with conservatively treated traction overload tendinitis may often be able to return to sports 3–4 months after the onset of symptoms. Athletes with partial rotator cuff tears may need 4–6 months before they return to sports after surgical treatment; athletes with complete rotator cuff tears may need even longer. A tennis player can often start playing again 4–6 months after the injury, but has to be careful with the serve for up to 1 year after the injury. Range-of-motion and condition exercises should start as soon as possible.
Lifting and throwing exercises are prescribed individually and should usually be avoided for the first 3–4 months after surgery.

A neglected rotator cuff tendon tear can cause permanent disability due to impaired function. This injury can sometimes be surgically repaired at a later date, but the longer the wait, the lower is the chance of a successful outcome.

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