The shoulder is a complex joint that allows you to have multidirectional motion of the arm. Shoulder pain is quite common, but can arise from a variety of causes. Whether you suffered an acute injury or you have had persistent pain in the shoulder we can help you by diagnosing the problem with expert knowledge, examination, and imaging. After determining the root cause of the problem you treatment will be decided. Sometimes it is as simple as beginning with therapy for strengthening and mobility or a cortisone injection, other times further imaging in the form of an MRI may be ordered to visualize the tendons and surrounding tissues.
Rotator cuff tendonitis is a common problem that may develop from overhead sport, repetitive motion, or age-related degeneration. There may be fraying of the deep layers of the rotator cuff tendons. In this case the shoulder needs to be rested and rehabilitated. Physical therapy is recommended to begin exercises to help stabilize the humeral head and strengthen the rotator cuff muscles.
Rotator cuff tears may develop because of an acute injury, but are most often caused by age-related degeneration or chronic impingement (rotator cuff tendons being pulled and squeezed under the coracoacromial arch). Cuff tears can be diagnosed clinically, but MRI is used to determine the extent of the tear and further management. If the patient has a full thickness tear that is causing significant pain and disability they may be a candidate for arthroscopic repair of the rotator cuff. This involves making several small incisions around the shoulder and entering the joint with a camera to visualize and repair the tear. The rehabilitation process is extensive and requires strict immobilization with a sling for 6 weeks. After this point you will begin physical therapy three times a week to start range of motion. The entire rehabilitation process can take up to 6 months. You will have interval follow up appointments in our office to monitor your progress.