Diagnosis and Management of Partial Thickness Rotator Cuff Tears

A Comprehensive Review

Kevin D. Plancher, MD, MPH; Jaya Shanmugam, MD; Karen Briggs, MPH; Stephanie C. Petterson, MPT, PhD


J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 2021;29(24):1031-1043. 

In This Article


Several classification systems exist for categorizing PRCTs by tear location, tear size, and tendons involved. Harvard Ellman classified PRCTs according to tear location (eg, bursal surface, articular surface, and interstitial/intrasubstance) and tear depth (Table 1). Snyder et al proposed an alternate classification system defining PRCTs as bursal-sided or articular-sided further grading them from zero to 4 depending on tear size and severity. Although there is agreement between the Ellman and Snyder classification systems, the interobserver reliability of these systems is fair.[24]