In the worst case scenario if you leave a torn rotator cuff alone for a long enough period of time, you will develop arthritis in your shoulder.
This is a very predictable pattern of arthritis called rotator cuff tear arthropathy, or arthritis from a torn rotator cuff.
Now, I don’t tell this to scare patients. The process happens over the course of years, not weeks, and not months.
So if you leave it alone long enough, certainly you’ll notice some dysfunction or disability in your arm.
If you neglect a torn rotator cuff for years and years, there is a chance that that turns into a problem that would need to be treated with shoulder replacement surgery.