Making it possible to raise your hand overhead or to scratch your back, your shoulder is one of the most flexible joints in your body. Though there are many benefits to this type of mobility, shoulder pain and injury are an unfortunate consequence, like your rotator cuff injury.
At Orthopedic & Wellness in Frederick, Waldorf, and Germantown, Maryland, our team of orthopedic surgeons and pain management experts specializes in the treatment of rotator cuff injuries. While surgery is a possibility for your rotator cuff injury, we prefer taking a nonsurgical approach when possible.
In addition to being one of the most flexible joints in your body, your shoulder is one of the most complex. It forms the connection between three bones: your upper arm bone (humerus), your shoulder blade (scapula), and your collarbone (clavicle).
The ball of your upper arm bone fits into the socket joint of your shoulder blade, which is held in place by the group of muscles and tendons that make up your rotator cuff. In addition to joint stability, your rotator cuff helps you lift and twist your arm.
Not all rotator cuff injuries are the same, but most involve one or more of the tendons that attach the muscles to your bone. These tendons are susceptible to injury because they have limited mobility.
When you lift or turn your shoulder beyond its normal range of motion, these tendons move, too, and may rub or bump on nearby bones or ligaments. This may lead to:
This condition, which is inflammation of the tendon, causes pain around your shoulder joint. Overuse and degenerative conditions are common causes of rotator cuff tendonitis.
Bursae are fluid-filled sacs that provide cushioning between your shoulder blade and the tendons in your rotator cuff. Overuse of your shoulder joint may cause inflammation of the bursae, called subacromial bursitis, which often co-occurs with rotator cuff tendonitis.
With subacromial bursitis, you may feel shoulder pain anytime you move your shoulder. The pain also tends to worsen at night.
A rotator cuff tear is a splitting or tearing of the tendon. This type of rotator cuff injury may occur after a bad fall. However, tendon degeneration that occurs with age is a more common cause of this type of injury. Your rotator cuff tear may be partial (still attached to the bone) or complete (fully separated from the bone).
When it comes to treating your injury, the sooner you schedule an evaluation the better. Getting an early diagnosis and treatment plan in place may prevent further injury to your rotator cuff and can help you avoid the need for surgical intervention.
At Orthopedic & Wellness, we develop individualized treatment plans for rotator cuff injuries based on the injury type and the severity of your symptoms. In many cases, we take a conservative approach, allowing your injury to heal on its own.
Treatment may include:
If your rotator cuff injury fails to improve with medical treatment or if you need the use of your arm and shoulder for sports or work, we may recommend surgery to repair the damage, alleviate pain, and restore shoulder function.
When performing shoulder surgery, our experienced orthopedic surgeons use minimally invasive tools and techniques to limit postsurgical pain and recovery time.
Treating your rotator cuff injury early may speed up your recovery. Don’t delay: Book an appointment by phone or online at the office nearest you to schedule an evaluation.