Your rotator cuff is a group of tendons that connect the muscles and bones in your arm to your torso. Whenever you use your shoulder — whether you’re reaching out or lifting up — you’re using your rotator cuff.
As one of the most flexible joints in your body, your shoulder is uniquely prone to injury. Your rotator cuff holds your shoulder joint together, and rotator cuff injuries are some of the most common causes of shoulder pain.
Aron Rovner, MD and our team of orthopedic specialists at New York Spine and Sports Surgery regularly treat rotator cuff tears with the best and latest technologies available. If you’re living with shoulder pain, it’s time to find out if it could be a rotator cuff injury and which treatment is right for you.
Types of rotator cuff injuries
Both overuse and acute injury can damage your rotator cuff. The most mild rotator cuff injury is tendonitis, which develops when the tendons in your shoulder get inflamed. If tendonitis is left untreated, inflammation may spread to the bursa, the sac of fluid that cushions your joint.
When inflammation spreads, rotator cuff bursitis develops. Symptoms of tendonitis and bursitis often include pain, swelling, and loss of mobility or strength in your shoulder.
A rotator cuff tear is the most severe type of rotator cuff injury. Acute injury or overuse may cause the tendons in your rotator cuff to stretch and tear, separating muscle from bone.
Common symptoms of rotator cuff tears are:
- Pain, even when resting
- A cracking sensation with movement
- Muscle weakness
- Loss of mobility
- Inability to sleep on affected shoulder
If you think you might have a rotator cuff injury, it’s important to seek professional treatment. Starting effective treatment early can keep the condition from getting worse, while restoring your range of motion and relieving pain.
Conservative treatment for rotator cuff tears
Dr. Rovner and our team diagnose your rotator cuff injury with a comprehensive exam and medical imaging, if necessary. We strive to take a conservative approach to treatment and generally begin with a range of nonsurgical options.
Mild or moderate rotator cuff injuries can improve with physical therapy and activity modification. To manage pain, we may prescribe anti-inflammatory medication or recommend steroid injections to target inflammation in your shoulder.
When a rotator cuff tear necessitates surgery
Many people find that a combination of conservative treatments improve their rotator cuff pain, but if your condition isn’t improving, Dr. Rovner may recommend surgery. Complete or partial rotator cuff tears, particularly those that happen as the result of acute injury, may be best treated with surgery.
Our team performs most rotator cuff surgeries with arthroscopy, which is a minimally invasive orthopedic technique. Using small incisions and the aid of a camera, Dr. Rovner guides specialized tools to repair your damaged rotator cuff.
Rotator cuff surgery, combined with physical therapy during recovery, can be extremely effective for rotator cuff tears. This treatment can alleviate pain, prevent the injury from worsening, and help restore mobility to your shoulder.
Trust your care to our orthopedic experts at New York Spine and Sports Surgery. Find out more about your rotator cuff treatment options during an appointment with Dr. Rovner. We have offices in Garden City, New York, and Fair Lawn, New Jersey. Call the office nearest you or send us a message online.