Is Your Rotator Cuff Damaged?

Shoulders play an important role in arm movement, particularly during sports. The shoulder consists of a group of tendons and muscles that wrap around the joint, forming the rotator cuff. Sometimes, due to overuse, pain and soreness can occur. If the pain persists, there may be severe damage in the form of a rotator cuff tear. Only a doctor can diagnose a tear using imaging, but some signs of the injury should not be ignored.

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All torn up

A rotator cuff tear happens when the tendon is torn or damaged. This can be a partial or full-thickness tear, with the tendon completely detached from the bone. Most rotator cuff tears happen from repetitive motions in sports like baseball, tennis, and golf. In some cases, aging can reduce the blood supply, causing fraying that turns into a tear. People who lift heavy objects, fall, or have car accidents can suffer the injury too. Rotator cuff tears are common, with at least 2 million occurring every year.

Do you have chronic shoulder pain?

Constant pain is the first sign of a rotator cuff tear. The pain is usually a dull ache felt deeper in the shoulder. Some people know immediately after a fall, collision, or accident. Others develop the injury over time. The pain can be mild at first, then builds to a dull, chronic ache.

Weakness and limited mobility

Over time, the arm can lose strength and mobility. Lifting the arm overhead is painful and, at times, challenging. The ability to lift heavy objects, throw a ball, or perform repetitive motions also declines. If there is a significant decline in the quality of life, a tear may be the culprit.

A cracking sound

Is there a cracking sound when lifting the arm or moving the shoulder? This sound is called crepitus. Crepitus is a joint’s popping, cracking, or clicking with movement. This happens with age but can also happen when joint cartilage is loose. The tissue catches in spaces of the shoulder, creating a cracking sound. Crepitus and the other symptoms are a sign to visit a doctor immediately.

Try these treatment options

A general doctor or orthopedic specialist will perform physical tests, X-rays, or MRI scans to confirm a tear. The extent of damage will determine the treatment options for shoulder pain. Most candidates for partial tears can benefit from rest, slinging the shoulder, physiotherapy, or additional techniques like regenerative medicine. Surgery may be necessary for complete tears that do not respond to treatment. Minimally invasive procedures will allow an orthopedic surgeon to reattach the tendon to the bone. From there, extensive physical therapy and rest help patients become pain-free.

Beware the tear

Rotator cuff tears can severely limit the use of the shoulder and must be taken seriously. Look for the signs such as dull pain, weakness, and cracking sounds. If treated early, most patients can benefit from non-surgical means. For chronic shoulder pain, advanced surgery may be necessary.

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“Dr. Dedhia made everything clear and even scheduled an early follow-up appt so I could get back to work sooner.”
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“Everyone was friendly and concerned about my comfort. They frequently asked how I was doing, or if I needed something.”
“Dr. Tupper was amazing! He spent time explaining exactly what he was doing, what I would experience and made sure I was comfortable.”

“I can’t say enough about Marcia and the entire team. The care I received was well beyond anything I could have expected.”

“NO wait time, RN Rebecca answered all questions prior to my visit by phone and again answered all questions and concerns while prepping me.”

“Amazing nurses, very caring and friendly and put both me and my son at ease.”

“The staff was very polite, they were excellent. They explained exactly what was going on.”
“Incredibly professional, friendly and confidence of knowing their roles as healthcare employees. Excellent!”

“All staff were wonderful.”

“Entire staff was knowledgeable and courteous. They genuinely cared for my well being and made sure my wife and I were taken care of.”

“Everyone was concerned with my comfort.”

“Everyone was friendly and the place was very clean.”

“Experience was amazing. The nurses my son needed at this time couldn’t have been chosen any more perfect. They were supportive and understanding, patient and just great human beings.THANK YOU KINDLY ”

“Marcia and staff were excellent and genuinely cared for my well being. Wish I could have taken them home.”

“No severe pain – Just a little discomfort – I was asked several times during procedure if I was OK – they showed genuine concern for my well being.”

“Everyone was friendly and the place was very clean.”

“I liked that it was so clean. Every staff member was pleasant and easy to talk with.”

“The staff was great, especially Mary and Marcia. Marcia was extremely helpful post-op and made sure I was comfortable and well-cared for.”

“The staff was very polite, they were excellent. They explained exactly what was going on.”
“Efficiency of the staff. Courteous, friendly and caring attitude. Excellent office staff. Pleasant surroundings.”

“I liked that it was so clean. Every staff member was pleasant and easy to talk with.”

“The nurses were very nice and caring!”
“The STAFF from the moment you walk in were the nicest people I’ve encountered at a medical facility.”
“Dr. Best…is the best!”
“Rebecca was amazing. I have always had trouble in the past with getting an IV started. I told Rebecca I was concerned about it. She got it on the 1st try – no digging in my arm and NO bruising the next day.”

“Amazing nurses, very caring and friendly and put both me and my son at ease.”

“Rebecca was amazing. I have always had trouble in the past with getting an IV started. I told Rebecca I was concerned about it. She got it on the 1st try – no digging in my arm and NO bruising the next day.”
“Everyone was friendly and concerned about my comfort. They frequently asked how I was doing, or if I needed something.”
“The STAFF from the moment you walk in were the nicest people I’ve encountered at a medical facility.”
“No severe pain – Just a little discomfort – I was asked several times during procedure if I was OK – they showed genuine concern for my well being.”

“All staff were wonderful.”

“Dr. Tupper was amazing! He spent time explaining exactly what he was doing, what I would experience and made sure I was comfortable.”

“Anesthesia staff was outstanding!”

“Experience was amazing. The nurses my son needed at this time couldn’t have been chosen any more perfect. They were supportive and understanding, patient and just great human beings.THANK YOU KINDLY ”

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