Rotator Cuff Specialist

New York Spine and Sports Surgery

Orthopedic Spine Surgeon & Orthopedic Sports Surgeon located in East Garden City, Garden City, NY & Fair Lawn, NJ

Rotator cuff tears rank high among the most common causes of shoulder pain. Board-certified orthopedic surgeon Aron D. Rovner, MD, treats rotator cuff tears at two New York Spine and Sports Surgery locations in Garden City, New York, and Fair Lawn, New Jersey. If you suffer from shoulder pain, or if your physician recommends rotator cuff repair surgery, call your nearest office or schedule an appointment online today.

Rotator Cuff FAQ

What is a rotator cuff tear?

The rotator cuff consists of four tendons that surround the head of your upper arm bone (humerus). In addition to stabilizing your shoulder joint, the rotator cuff helps you lift and rotate your arm. 

When one or more of the tendons in your rotator cuff becomes torn, it no longer completely attaches to the head of your humerus. This leads to shoulder pain and weakness in your arm. 

What causes rotator cuff tears?

The two main causes of rotator cuff tears are injury and degeneration. Most rotator cuff tears occur slowly over time as the result of degenerative damage. 

You can also tear your rotator cuff suddenly if you fall on an outstretched arm or lift a heavy object with a jerking motion. A sudden, acute tear may occur along with other shoulder injuries, like a dislocation or fracture. 

What are the symptoms of a rotator cuff tear?

Rotator cuff tears that happen suddenly after an injury cause immediate, intense pain. Symptoms of a degenerative tear usually develop gradually and may include:

  • Pain at rest
  • Pain when lifting and lowering your arm
  • Difficulty sleeping on the affected shoulder
  • Arm weakness
  • A crackling sensation when moving your shoulder

Pain and symptoms may be mild at first and only present at certain times, like when you extend your arm overhead to reach for something. Over time, the pain becomes more severe and is noticeable at times of rest. 

How are rotator cuff tears treated?

Dr. Rovner takes a conservative approach to treatment and always explores every nonsurgical option available before recommending surgery. Nonsurgical treatments for rotator cuff tears include:

  • Activity modification
  • Physical therapy
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication
  • Steroid joint injections

If your rotator cuff tear is severe or if shoulder pain and symptoms continue to bother you after 6-12 months of conservative treatment, surgery may be necessary. Rotator cuff tears that result from sudden, acute injuries may also require surgery. 

Dr. Rovner performs most rotator cuff repair surgeries with arthroscopy, a minimally invasive technique that uses small, buttonhole-sized incisions. 

For expert care of a torn rotator cuff, call New York Spine and Sports Surgery or book an appointment online today.