A rotator cuff is a group of four tendons that surround the shoulder and connect the muscles of the shoulder to the bones. The rotator cuff is crucial for lifting and rotating the arm and stabilizing the shoulder joint. An injury, chronic wear and tear, or shoulder impingement can all cause rotator cuff tears.
If you experience a rotator cuff tear, it’s best to see an orthopedic specialist early. Getting rotator cuff injuries diagnosed and treated as soon as possible can prevent certain complications, such as loss of strength or limited range of motion. The doctors at California Orthopedics & Spine have years of experience treating rotator cuff injuries, and they are happy to help you find a solution for your condition.
Signs of a Rotator Cuff Injury
Rotator cuff pain typically starts in the front of the shoulder and radiates down the arm. Injuries or excess wear on the rotator cuff can also cause weakness and difficulty reaching behind or above your body. If your pain increases and strength continues to decrease over time, your tear may be getting worse. You should see a specialist as soon as possible after noticing a rotator cuff injury. Seeking treatment early can prevent the need for surgery, or if surgery is necessary, the results of surgery tend to be better when the procedure is done within the first few weeks of the injury.
Treating Rotator Cuff Injuries
Nonsurgical treatments, such as medications, injections, and physical therapy, can treat many rotator cuff injuries. Rotator cuff tears cannot heal themselves, but rest, strengthening surrounding muscles, and other measures can sometimes restore normal function without the need for surgery.
If a tear is severe, or if you do lots of overhead work with your arms, surgery will likely be necessary to repair the torn tendon. The exact type of surgery necessary will depend on your injury. Some partial tears only require a trimming or smoothing of loose tissue, which is called debridement. When the tendon tears away from the arm bone, it will be reattached to the bone to return function. If the tendon tissue is beyond repair, a reconstruction procedure may be necessary.
Your rotator cuff repair surgery will likely be an arthroscopic procedure, which uses smaller tools and a tiny camera to eliminate the need for a larger incision. For very serious tears, open surgery may be necessary so the surgeon can stitch the tendon back onto the bone. Your surgeon will discuss all your surgical and nonsurgical treatment options when you come in for a consultation appointment.
Rotator Cuff Repair in Novato and Larkspur, CA
If you experience a rotator cuff injury that is causing pain and preventing you from performing your normal daily activities, contact our office to schedule an exam and consultation. California Orthopedics & Spine has been helping people repair rotator cuff injuries for years, and our sports medicine experts will be happy to help you.