The rotator cuff lies in the shoulder and is made up of four muscles and tendons that work to stabilize your shoulder joint. When intact, the rotator cuff allows you to lift and rotate your arms. A tear in the rotator cuff can happen suddenly from playing sports, lifting something heavy, or it can occur through normal wear and tear.
There are two types of rotator cuff tears, and they have varying degrees of severity.
A partial tear refers to a frayed or damaged tendon that typically protects the top of your shoulder. A complete tear implies one that goes all the way through the tendon, sometimes even pulling the tendon off the bone.
Patients don’t always notice a rotator cuff tear when it happens. You might suspect a tear when you experience symptoms such as:
It’s important to seek medical attention as soon as you notice signs of a rotator cuff tear. Leaving it untreated can lead to more serious damage that’s more difficult to treat.
Causes for a rotator cuff tear can range in activity. It can occur from playing sports that most commonly include baseball or tennis, from lifting heavy things, or from falling. A rotator cuff tear also happens over time with normal wear and tear.
After examination and a proper diagnosis of a rotator cuff tear, Dr. Nolan can begin the best treatment method for you. If your tear looks less severe, he may first suggest anti-inflammatory medications and physical therapy to strengthen the weakened muscles.
If these methods prove to be ineffective for healing, Dr. Nolan may observe the need for surgery. Surgery is usually necessary for a complete tear as well, through which Dr. Nolan stitches together the torn area or reattaches the tendon to the bone.
Specializing in shoulder arthroscopy surgery, Dr. Nolan may be able to repair your torn rotator cuff through minimally invasive measures. An arthroscopy only requires a small incision to insert a small camera and tiny instruments, through which he conducts the operation.
After an operation, recovery times last approximately four to six weeks. A sling may be necessary to inhibit your arm from moving before it’s ready to.
Consult with Dr. Nolan about any additional questions or concerns you may have regarding a torn rotator cuff.
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