Rotator Cuff Tear: When Is It Time to See an Orthopedic Specialist?

rotator cuff tear
Your rotator cuff is made up of a set of four small tendons responsible for keeping the ball of the upper arm bone in the shoulder blade socket. Sometimes, excessive force passes through the shoulders and can cause strain to those tiny muscles and lead to a rotator cuff tear.

Early Warning Signs of a Rotator Cuff Tear

According to research, the sooner you seek treatment for a possible rotator cuff tear, the better the outcome.

Early signs of a rotator cuff tear include:

  • Shoulder pain when dressing, especially when putting on or taking off a top
  • Overhead activities lead to shoulder pain
  • Constant or intractable pain
  • Pain when reaching behind you (for example, reaching into the backseat of a vehicle)
  • Shoulder weakness or a sense of instability
  • Shoulder pain when resting on your back or pain that occurs throughout the night

Rotator Cuff Tear Treatments

Sometimes, all a patient needs is ice, rest, and maybe some physical therapy to recover from a rotator cuff injury.

A doctor will suggest physical therapy before jumping to more invasive solutions to shoulder pain. Physical therapy will give you personalized exercises for the specific location of the injury to restore flexibility and strength in the shoulder.

However, there are instances where a rotator cuff tear may necessitate surgical intervention for complete healing and restoration of proper movement.

Rotator Cuff Surgery

An orthopedic surgeon has many surgical solutions when addressing a rotator cuff injury.

  • Arthroscopic tendon repair: A small camera and tools are inserted to reattach the torn tendon to the bone
  • Open tendon repair: A tiny incision is made over the shoulder to reattach the damaged tendon to the bone
  • Tendon transfer surgery: Often done to improve lost hand function, tendon transfer involves a surgeon using a nearby tendon to replace a too-damaged rotator cuff tendon
  • Shoulder replacement surgery: As a last option, shoulder replacement improves joint stability by installing the ball part of the joint onto the shoulder blade and the socket part onto the arm bone

Put a Stop to Shoulder Pain Today

Don't ignore persisting shoulder pain. At Specialty Orthopaedics, we have the expertise and resources to effectively treat a range of shoulder injuries, including rotator cuff tears. Our team will work closely with you to determine the underlying cause of your shoulder pain and develop a customized treatment plan that meets your specific requirements. Schedule an appointment today with Specialty Orthopaedics, or give us a call at 914-686-0111.

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