A rotator cuff tear is a common shoulder injury that brings almost two million people to the doctor each year. The team of orthopedic surgeons and sports medicine specialists at Garden State Pain & Orthopedics will treat your rotator cuff injury at their state-of-the-art facilities in Edison, Clifton, Hazlet, Paramus, and Jersey City, New Jersey. Call or book an appointment online today if you think you may have a torn rotator cuff.
A rotator cuff is a group of four muscles and tendons that hold the head of your upper arm bone (humerus) in your shoulder socket. In addition to stabilizing your shoulder joint, the rotator cuff helps you lift and rotate your arm. A rotator cuff injury happens when one or more of these tendons become damaged or injured. A rotator cuff injury can be partial, incomplete, or may entirely sever the tendon in a full-thickness tear.
The two main causes of a rotator cuff tear include injury and degeneration.
Acute rotator cuff injuries may occur after an injury, such as falling down on an outstretched arm or while lifting something heavy with improper form.
Degenerative tears are much more common and happen slowly, usually to the dominant arm. Repetitive stress from arm motions such as throwing a ball, weightlifting, or even painting a house can cause the rotator cuff to wear down and fray. These tears are more common with increasing age since the blood supply to your rotator cuff tendon lessens over time. The body requires a steady supply of blood flowing through an area to initiate repairs, so the less blood that goes to the tendon, the slower a rotator cuff injury can be repaired, which leads to more frequent tears and injuries over time.
A sudden injury to the rotator cuff tendon may cause immediate effects like intense pain and weakness in the affected arm. This is often the case for an acute tear and requires immediate attention. On the other hand, degenerative tears will have subtler symptoms that grow worse over time. Symptoms of a partial or complete tear include:
One of the worst aspects of a rotator cuff tear is that re-tearing becomes much more likely. Even after being healed, a torn tendon suffers from a higher risk of being torn again, which worsens depending on the size of the original tear. Surgical repair of the problem may lead to problems like:
It is important for people in occupations that have a higher risk of suffering from a rotator cuff injury to take frequent breaks. Resting the tendon will allow it to heal and strengthen. Overuse will only weaken the tendon and lower the weight you can carry on your shoulder without injury. It helps to exercise your shoulders to strengthen the muscles and tendons in order to ensure a full range of motion. Stretches and strengthening exercises are common methods of keeping your tendons working well. In case of injury, be sure to apply ice to the area in order to reduce swelling and inflammation.
How is a Rotator Cuff Tear Diagnosed and Treated Professionally?
First, your Garden State Pain & Orthopedics physician examines your shoulder and reviews your symptoms and medical history. Be prepared to answer questions like:
If you have a severe tear or don’t notice improvement with treatment, the Garden State Pain Control team may recommend surgery. Many rotator cuff repairs can be done as a minimally invasive arthroscopic procedure. To learn more, call or book an appointment online today.