The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons in the shoulder. It plays an important role in your daily life, allowing you to move your arms and lift objects. It also keeps the ball of your upper arm bone, or humerus, in the shoulder socket.
A torn rotator cuff won’t heal on its own, unfortunately. The right treatment, however, can get you back in action before long — especially if you seek help early on.
Board-certified orthopedic sports medicine surgeon Dr. Stephen Fisher and the team at our offices in Cumming and Buford, Georgia, are pleased to offer effective treatments for a variety of shoulder injuries, including rotator cuff tears.
Take a few moments to learn more about rotator cuff tears, including what makes way for healing.
Torn rotator cuff basics
Rotator cuff tears happen when tendons in your shoulder pull away from the arm bone. This injury can result from overuse or sudden movement. You can develop a partial tear, when the tendons are still somewhat attached to the bone, or a full tear, which is complete detachment.
Rotator cuff tears are common, affecting more than 2 million people in the United States each year. They can happen to anyone, but adults are at a higher risk, especially after age 40.
Other risk factors include:
- Bone spurs
- Frequent heavy lifting
- Family history of rotator cuff injuries
- Poor posture
Jobs that may up your odds of a rotator cuff tear include carpentry, painting, and professional sports. Playing tennis or softball recreationally, too, can fuel this injury.
Rotator cuff tear symptoms
Rotator cuff tears can affect either or both of your arms, but they usually affect your dominant arm alone. Once one happens, you’re likely to experience shoulder pain and difficulty raising the affected arm.
Rotator cuff tear pain often worsens at night or during periods of inactivity. You might also notice clicking or popping sounds when you use your shoulder.
Treatment for torn rotator cuffs
Rotator cuff tears get worse without treatment, so don’t attempt to grin and bear your symptoms. About 80% of people with partial tears require only nonsurgical treatment, which may include:
- An arm sling
- Activity modification
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Physical therapy
- Steroid injections
If you need surgery for your torn rotator cuff, there’s a good chance Dr. Fisher can use shoulder arthroscopy. This minimally invasive procedure is performed on an outpatient basis and requires only small incisions. That means fewer risks and a shorter recovery time.
In severe cases, he may recommend shoulder replacement surgery.
To learn more about rotator cuff injuries or to get the care you need, call the office nearest you or book an appointment through our website today.
We offer treatment for shoulder pain, shoulder injury, knee pain, ACL Reconstruction surgery, and more. Call us to book your appointment today.