Millions of people experience shoulder pain each year, and one of the most common causes is a rotator cuff tear. Rotator cuff injuries were first recorded in 300 BC by Hippocrates when he noted the prevalence of injuries associated with tendons in the shoulder. While the prevalence of rotator cuff injuries remains the same today, our knowledge of these injuries and the introduction of innovative treatments have greatly increased the likelihood of a successful recovery. The board-certified surgeons at ORTHOKnox are highly qualified to diagnose your specific rotator cuff tear and prescribe the best treatment. ORTHOKnox offers both conservative and surgical treatments of rotator cuff tears.
SYMPTOMS AND DIAGNOSIS OF A TEAR
The rotator cuff comprises four tendons that help to lift and rotate your shoulder. It is crucial to the function and stability of the shoulder, or glenohumeral, joint.
Patients typically tear their rotator cuff during a fall, via a direct blow, with the rapid use of force, or due to repetitive stresses or natural degeneration. Repeated stresses to the shoulder, such as frequent weightlifting or jobs with overhead reaching, can cause fraying that can eventually lead to a tear. It is even possible to tear more than one tendon at a time.
Symptoms include shoulder or upper arm weakness, nagging pain, and difficulty with overhead movements such as reaching for a jar on an upper shelf. While some patients are asymptomatic, it is typically a debilitating injury.
Delaying treatment of a rotator cuff tear can result in further injury, so it is important to see your doctor at ORTHOKnox as soon as possible if you are experiencing symptoms. Your doctor at ORTHOKnox may run an MRI or CAT scan to confirm diagnosis of the tear and then begin your personalized treatment.
Often, rotator cuff tears are treated conservatively with activity modification and physical therapy. But some patients benefit from surgical repair. Your doctor at ORTHOKnox will choose the right treatment for you by evaluating the duration of your symptoms, which shoulder is dominant, the type, or extent, of your tear, and your specific characteristics such as age and activity level.
The on-site physical therapists at ORTHOKnox will individually tailor your rehabilitation program, but a typical program focuses on restoring mobility, strength, and function of your shoulder with the following methods.
- Modify activities
Refraining from activities such as those involving overhead reaching will help to minimize further injury to your shoulder.
- Stretch the shoulder
The physical therapists at ORTHOKnox will introduce you to stretches that will restore your shoulder flexibility and help maintain shoulder motion.
- Strengthen muscles and stabilize joints
Strengthening the muscles with specific exercises will help to stabilize your shoulder joint and improve overall shoulder function.
If conservative treatment is not sufficient for your rotator cuff tear, then the board-certified surgeons at ORTHOKnox may suggest arthroscopic repair of your torn rotator cuff. The surgeons at ORTHOKnox have fellowship training in shoulder surgery, upper extremity surgery, and sports medicine. This, along with employing the most innovative techniques, ensures that you will get the best treatment available at ORTHOKnox.
Arthroscopic repair involves tiny 5 mm incisions to repair the soft tissue and anchor your rotator cuff to your bone. Arthroscopic repair reduces postoperative pain, lessens bleeding, and allows for a quicker recovery. The physical therapists at ORTHOKnox can help you rehabilitate after your surgery. The team at ORTHOKnox works together to ensure you have the best chance of restoring and improving your shoulder function after a rotator cuff tear.
With its board-certified surgeons and new Urgent Orthpaedic Care that is available without an appointment, ORTHOKnox has got you covered. For more information about how ORTHOKnox can treat your rotator cuff tear, call (865) 251-3030, or fill out our easy-to-use online appointment request form. We look forward to hearing from you!