Does your shoulder hurt when you’re reaching for something overhead? Does the pain interfere with your sleep? If so, you may be one of the 2 million people with a rotator cuff injury in the United States.
Your rotator cuff is made up of a group of tendons and muscles covering your shoulder joint. These muscles and tendons help keep your upper arm bone in your shoulder socket.
Your rotator cuffs get a lot of use, so they’re subject to wear-and-tear and injury. Rotator cuff tears or partial tears are common among athletes, especially baseball players.
Dr. James M. Lee, Jr of Orange Orthopaedic Associates is a board-certified and fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon specializing in shoulder injuries. Here’s a rundown of information about the rotator cuff and the treatment options that Dr. Lee may use to help get you back to a pain-free and active lifestyle quickly.
Anyone of any age can experience a rotator cuff injury, but they are more common in older people. In fact, one study found that only 9.7% of those under age 20 had a rotator cuff injury, but 67% of those 80 and over had one.
The two primary causes of these injuries are wear-and-tear and traumatic injury.
If you have a family history of rotator cuff injuries, you’re more likely to experience one than people without a family history of this injury. Also at higher risk are people with jobs that require repetitive overhead movement such as construction.
Lastly, people who play sports that require frequent overhead motions — think volleyball, tennis, baseball, and swimming — are especially susceptible to rotator cuff injuries.
Injuries vary from tendinitis and bursitis to partial and full tears of the rotator cuff tendons, bursas, and muscles. Symptoms include:
At Orange Orthopaedic Associates, we perform a thorough evaluation to determine the cause of your injury before prescribing a customized treatment plan.
Early treatment can help prevent further damage, so it’s important to make an appointment as soon as you start to experience pain. Fortunately, in many cases rest, anti-inflammatory medication, and physical therapy can reduce pain and restore function.
If noninvasive treatments fail to restore function and reduce inflammation, a minimally invasive cortisone shot can jump-start the healing process by reducing inflammation. Once we have the inflammation under control and the pain has subsided, physical therapy can help restore mobility and function and prevent reinjury.
Another minimally invasive treatment option is platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy, to help accelerate healing and reduce inflammation.
In some cases, such as a full rotator cuff tear or if the pain does not subside with other methods, surgery may be necessary. Surgery options include:
Other surgical procedure options include a bone spur removal or a tendon transfer depending on the cause of the injury.
Are you experiencing shoulder pain? Make an appointment with Dr. Lee at one of our offices in West Orange, Tenafly, or Bayonne, New Jersey, for a diagnosis and treatment plan. For your convenience, you can also schedule an appointment online through this website.