Did you know that torn rotator cuff injuries make up the majority of orthopedic cases? This area in the shoulder is susceptible to tears, and this type of injury is still largely misunderstood. Here, we will discuss some of the important points about how to manage a rotator cuff tear so you know when to get help and what you might expect.
- A rotator cuff may be torn in some type of physical event. Maybe you have gone skiing for the first time and had a nasty fall on your side. If moving your arm is difficult or causes pain, it is possible that your rotator cuff may have been torn in the fall. Do not wait to obtain care for an injured rotator cuff. Without proper treatment, which would likely be surgery, retraction of the tear may occur, making the problem more complicated.
- A word about retraction. Retraction is like a pulling away from one point of contact. A retracted muscle can atrophy over time, and this can render the muscle incapable of normal function after some time. This is because the muscle turns to fat. One of the crucial aspects of our assessment of a torn rotator cuff is to identify if retraction has occurred and, if so, to what extent.
- The most common reason that a rotator cuff tears is simple degeneration; the tissue in the shoulder has worn down with time, movement, and age. Usually, tears related to degeneration of the rotator cuff are small. However, there is the potential that the small tear may grow larger over time. See your orthopedist about pain and weakness in the shoulder. It's possible that your tear may respond well to non-surgical treatment.
- A tear does not necessarily mean that you need surgery. Many people live with rotator cuff tears and show no signs or symptoms. The presence of a tear on diagnostic imaging does not in itself constitute reason for surgery. Small tears may be treated with non-surgical therapies first. If appropriate modalities do not produce the intended result, then we may discuss the value of surgical repair.
Do you require orthopedic care? We have offices in Wayne and Clifton, NJ to assist you.