Are you bothered by shoulder pain? Do you have trouble when you’re lying down or sleeping on one of your shoulders? Have you noticed weakness in your shoulder or arm? It could be a rotator cuff injury, one of the most common types of shoulder injuries among adults of all ages.
Like any injury, rotator cuff problems range in severity, from tendonitis to full tears. You might be tempted to ignore mild to moderate shoulder pain in the hope that it goes away, but rotator cuff injuries rarely heal on their own.
In fact, ignoring rotator cuff damage might make the injury worse. Seeking professional care is the best way to get a diagnosis, understand your condition, and find treatment that helps you heal.
Aron Rovner, MD, and our team at New York Spine and Sports Surgery provide specialized care for rotator cuff injuries. We start with conservative treatment and work with you until your shoulder is strong and healthy once again.
The dangers of ignoring rotator cuff injury
Your rotator cuff consists of four major tendons and muscles that connect the bones of your upper arm to your shoulder. These tendons are naturally strong and resilient, but overuse or acute injury can irritate them and cause rotator cuff damage.
Rotator cuff tendonitis is the mildest type of rotator cuff injury. It starts when your rotator cuff tendons get inflamed and swollen. You might notice pain, stiffness, and loss of mobility, but it may start slowly and be tempting to ignore.
If you don’t seek treatment, tendonitis can develop into bursitis. Rotator cuff bursitis is characterized by inflammation in the bursa of your shoulder, and you may notice symptoms like worsening pain, increased swelling, or loss of strength in your shoulder.
A torn rotator cuff is the most severe form of rotator cuff injury. It may develop as the result of acute injury, but it’s most often caused by overuse and deterioration — and it can be exacerbated by a history of rotator cuff injury.
Waiting for your rotator cuff injury to heal on its own puts you at risk for serious complications and worsening symptoms. But the good news is that Dr. Rovner and our team offer a range of effective treatments to promote healing and even prevent reinjury.
Finding the right treatment for your rotator cuff injury
If you think you might have a torn rotator cuff, don’t wait to make an appointment with an orthopedic specialist. Dr. Rover diagnoses your injury with a physical exam and noninvasive medical imaging, then develops a treatment plan that meets your needs.
Dr. Rovner is a conservative surgeon, which means he won’t recommend surgery unless it’s absolutely necessary. Instead, he starts by recommending treatment that may include:
- Activity modification
- Anti-inflammatory medication
- Physical therapy
- Steroid injections
He may prescribe a combination of conservative treatments to reduce inflammation, minimize pain, and help rebuild strength in your shoulder. Our team continues monitoring your condition as you heal, adjusting your treatment plan as needed.
For many patients, conservative care is enough to treat rotator cuff injuries. But if you’ve tried conservative options and you still have pain 6-12 months after starting treatment, it might be time to consider surgery.
Could you have a rotator cuff injury? Don’t wait for it to heal on its own. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Rovner to learn about your treatment options. Contact us to get started today.