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Treatments for Your Torn Rotator Cuff

Rotator cuff tears are very common. In fact, about 2 million Americans see a doctor about rotator cuff problems every year.

If you have torn your rotator cuff, you have multiple options available to you, including surgical and nonsurgical treatments. In this blog, the providers at Wellington Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine explain more about how to treat a torn rotator cuff.

How rotator cuff injuries occur

The rotator cuff is a collection of muscles and tendons that connect your upper arm bone to your shoulder socket. If a tear occurs in one of the tendons due to injury or wear and tear, it’s called a rotator cuff tear.

An acute rotator cuff tear can occur for many reasons, such as the following:

In addition, not all rotator cuff injuries are acute. Your rotator cuff is prone to degeneration as you get older, because tendons and muscles can naturally start to get weaker over time. You may be more likely to experience this chronic degeneration if you use your arms in repetitive motions, such as at work or when playing a sport.

Nonsurgical treatments

Rotator cuff injuries don’t generally heal well on their own. In the best case scenario, they may stabilize and not get any worse. However, if a tear is not treated, it may grow larger. For this reason, we don’t usually take a wait-and-see approach when it comes to rotator cuff injuries.

Depending on how severe your injury is, we may recommend conservative treatments first. These may include rest, ice, and physical therapy. In some cases, we may also use steroid injections, especially if your injury is interfering with your ability to sleep. However, because steroid injections can weaken your tendons, we tend to only use them on a limited basis.

Surgical treatments

Several types of surgical treatments can repair your rotator cuff injury if more conservative treatments don’t provide relief. Some types of surgical repairs include the following:

Arthroscopic tendon repair

In this procedure, the surgeon uses a small incision and a tiny camera called an arthroscope to reattach the torn tendon to the bone.

Open tendon repair

This procedure uses a larger incision to reattach the torn tendon to the bone.

Tendon transfer

If the tendon is too damaged to be reattached to the bone, the surgeon may use another tendon instead.

If you have shoulder pain and have trouble moving your arm, you may have injured your rotator cuff. The providers at Wellington Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine can get to the bottom of what’s causing your pain and help you get well. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone today.

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