Injuries to the rotator cuff are one of the most common causes of shoulder pain; every year, around 2 million Americans visit their doctor with rotator cuff injuries. If you suspect your shoulder pain is caused by a rotator cuff injury, a specialist can help confirm the damage and rehabilitate your joint.
Dr. Philip Regala practices orthopedic medicine in Naples, Florida. He can diagnose and correctly treat a rotator cuff tear, improving your chances of a full recovery.
Shoulder joint basics
The “rotator cuff” can be a vague phrase to someone who isn’t familiar with the anatomy of the shoulder. The head of your upper arm bone fits into a shallow socket in your shoulder blade, and the resulting joint is supported by the rotator cuff.
The cuff consists of muscles and tendons, wrapped around the bones and connecting the humerus and scapula. The way the joint is constructed allows for rotation of the arm and shoulder, hence the name.
Common symptoms of rotator cuff tears
Many people experience rotator cuff tears after an accident or sports injury, but they can also be caused by ongoing wear-and-tear. Many athletes, especially those who perform repetitive over-the-head movements like pitching, experience rotator cuff tears as they get older.
Along with general shoulder pain and stiffness, there are five typical symptoms of a rotator cuff tear:
- Pain during the night, especially when lying on the affected side
- Muscle weakness when lifting your arm
- Difficulty reaching overhead or behind you
- Crackling sensations when rotating your arm
- A dull ache deep inside the shoulder
If your rotator cuff tear was caused by a sudden injury, you might have felt the tendons “snap” as they tore away from the bone. If this is the case, you should contact a specialist as soon as possible to discuss reattachment surgery.
Degenerative rotator cuff tears are harder to pick up on. The pain may temporarily improve, but symptoms will worsen over time. You might be prone to rotator cuff tears if you’re an athlete, work in construction, or have bone spurs.
The importance of proper rehabilitation
Whether you’ve just injured your shoulder or have been experiencing pain for a long time, you can benefit from rehabilitation. Dr. Regala provides a number of treatment options, including physical therapy, steroid injections, and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections
Regenerative medicine is becoming a great way to heal rotator cuff injuries without surgery, but sometimes conservative measures aren’t enough. Dr. Regala might recommend surgery if:
- You have a complete or severe tear
- Your injury was recent and acute
- You have significant weakness in your arm
- You work or play sports and need full functionality
- Your symptoms persist over time
If surgery is necessary, Dr. Regala performs the procedure arthroscopically to minimize pain, scarring, and recovery time.
Suffering from shoulder pain? You can schedule a consultation with Dr. Regala by calling 239-325-1131, or book online.