About two-thirds of people experience shoulder pain at some point during their lifetimes. While shoulder symptoms can have different causes, rotator cuff problems are a major reason for painful shoulders, especially as you age.
At Orthopedic Center of Palm Beach County, we treat rotator cuff tears using advanced techniques and a patient-centered approach for optimal healing and recovery. Here’s what they want you to know about rotator cuff tears and how we treat them.
Your rotator cuff is a group of tendons and muscles that work together to hold your shoulder joint together and help you lift and raise your arms. The cuff surrounds the top part of your upper arm bone (the humerus), keeping the ball part of the joint firmly seated in the hallowed-out socket.
Rotator cuff tears can occur as a result of a traumatic injury, like falling on your arm when it’s outstretched. But degenerative tears are more common, developing over time as a result of wear-and-tear in the joint or overuse injuries.
Some tears happen when bone spurs form on the surface of the joint, abrading and ripping the tendon or muscle tissue.
The most common symptoms of a rotator cuff tear include:
Rotator cuff tears can make it difficult to do simple activities like combing your hair or reaching over your head, and many people find their symptoms make it difficult to get a good night's sleep.
While some very mild tears may heal on their own, most tears need medical intervention. The good news: Many people achieve good function in their shoulders even without surgery, as long as they seek treatment promptly.
We tailor rotator cuff treatment to the severity of the tear, the symptoms you’re experiencing, and your lifestyle to help relieve painful symptoms and support healing and recovery.
Taking a break from activities that place a lot of stress on the shoulder joint gives your shoulder a chance to jumpstart the healing process. Even simple actions, like adjusting your computer monitor and keyboard, can give your rotator cuff some much-needed relief.
If you have a rotator cuff tear, you can put strain on the joint tissues even when your arm is hanging at rest by your side. An arm sling provides support to your shoulder, reducing strain and giving the tissues time to heal.
Oral medications are available to relieve both pain and inflammation. If these medicines aren’t effective in providing long-term relief or if you need increasing doses to stay comfortable, corticosteroid injections may be a good alternative. Administered directly to the shoulder joint, these injections can significantly decrease painful inflammation.
Physical therapy focuses on strengthening the shoulder joint and improving circulation for natural healing benefits. Therapeutic activities change over time as your shoulder improves, helping you return to regular activities without pain or stiffness.
Surgery is usually reserved for very severe tears that we can’t treat adequately with conservative treatments. It’s also typically advised for athletes or other people who use their shoulders a lot for work or other activities.
Rotator cuff tears respond best with prompt, early treatment. If you put off seeking treatment, the tear can become a lot worse, and you could wind up with permanent shoulder disability.
If you’re having any type of shoulder pain or stiffness, don’t delay care. Call 561-967-6500 today or book an appointment online with our team at Orthopedic Center of Palm Beach County in Atlantis, Wellington, and Boynton Beach, Florida.