The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint, keeping the head of your upper arm bone firmly within the shallow socket of the shoulder. These muscles and tendons are important for the daily movement of your arm, from reaching for a pen at work to throwing a football across a field. Repetitive motions can result in the fraying or tearing of the tendons, and therefore require treatment to fix the injury.
The pain that comes with a rotator cuff injury may:
- Feel like a deep, dull ache that won’t go away.
- Wake you up from sleep, especially if you roll onto your side.
- Be accompanied by arm weakness or an inability to comb your hair or reach your back.
Rotator Cuff Injury Treatments
Without treatment, rotator cuff injuries could lead to permanent motion loss and/or weakness, and may result in the degeneration of the shoulder joint. Less invasive treatments like rest, ice, and physical therapy are sometimes all that is needed to recover from a minor injury. However, if the injury is more severe, surgery may be necessary to repair the joint. Some common surgical options are:
- Arthroscopic tendon repair.This procedure is minimally invasive and involves a small camera and tools inserted through small incisions. Recovery is usually easier with this type of surgery.
- Open tendon repair.This type of surgery involves a larger incision to attach the tendon back to the bone. Recovery is typically longer and more intensive with this procedure.
- Tendon transfer.If the torn tendon cannot be reattached to the bone due to the level of damage, surgeons may decide to use a nearby tendon as a replacement.
- Shoulder replacement.Though uncommon, massive rotator cuff injuries may only be repaired through a shoulder replacement. While not the most ideal surgery to perform, surgeons may recommend it if they believe the shoulder cannot properly heal any other way.
If you have experienced a shoulder injury that has not resolved on its own with conservative home care, come to Beacon Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine for a consultation with one of our shoulder specialists! You can also visit one of our Orthopaedic Urgent Care Centers and be seen quickly without an appointment or referral. Stop living with your pain and let Beacon help get you back to a healthy, pain-free life!