Rotator cuff injuries are some of the most common — two to four million Americans injure their rotator cuff every year. Age, occupation, family history, and certain sports can all raise your risk of a rotator cuff injury.
While minor rotator cuff injuries may be able to heal on their own with rest, more involved treatment may be needed to repair a complete tear.
If you’ve suffered a rotator cuff injury that you think may benefit from treatment, come see our team at Steven E. Nolan, MD. Dr. Nolan, our board-certified orthopedic surgeon with over 20 years of experience, has received numerous top-surgeon awards.
Here, he discusses five reasons you may want to consider treatment for a rotator cuff injury.
Most rotator cuff injuries are tears or tendonitis. Tendonitis occurs from overuse or holding your shoulder in one position for a long time. Tendonitis can typically heal from rest.
Tears can be partial or complete, also known as full thickness. With a partial tear that frays or damages the tendons of the rotator cuff, you may be able to heal with time and physical therapy.
With a complete tear that severs a tendon or, in some cases, pulls it off the bone, you will most likely need surgery. If you don’t seek treatment for your rotator cuff injury, you probably won’t be able to gauge your injury’s severity or determine if rest will help with healing.
Rotator cuff injuries can include the following symptoms:
If you don’t get treatment and your injury doesn’t heal, you could be fighting through these symptoms for a long time.
Degenerative tears, in which a tear develops over time from overuse, are more common in certain occupations and sports. Carpenters, mechanics, and painters often suffer tears, and without treatment, you may be sidelined from your job. On the sports side, baseball, softball, tennis, and rowing put you at a higher risk for tears. Both recreational and professional athletes may spend extended time away without proper treatment.
Your rotator cuff wears down as you age, raising the likelihood that you will suffer a degenerative tear. In fact, rotator cuff tears are most common in people over 60. Beyond pain relief, treatment can also help restore function to your rotator cuff. When left untreated, rotator cuff problems may lead to permanent loss of motion or weakness of the shoulder joint.
Many rotator cuff injuries can be fixed with a combination of rest and physical therapy. When surgery is deemed necessary, it may not be as bad as you think. Instead of traumatic open surgery, Dr. Nolan may be able to repair your rotator cuff with shoulder arthroscopy. Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical method that makes diagnosing, treating, and recovering from shoulder injuries much easier and faster. With less trauma during surgery, you’ll recover faster and deal with less pain and scarring.
To learn more about rotator cuff injuries and get a specialist’s opinion, request an appointment online or over the phone with Steven E. Nolan, MD, today.