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Shoulder Pain: Rotator Cuff Tears, a Note from Dr. Argo

A Note from Doctor Argo on Rotator Cuff Tears:

I see patients in my office daily with shoulder pain. The shoulder is used for such a wide range of activities. These activities include: throwing a baseball, golfing, playing tennis, swimming, lifting a child, doing yard work, gardening, painting, etc.
A common source of pain in the shoulder is from a rotator cuff tear or inflammation. Common symptoms of a rotator cuff tear are:
• shoulder pain at night when trying to sleep
• weakness or pain with overhead activities (i.e., reaching for a cup off the top shelf, throwing a softball, combing your hair, etc.)
• decreased range of motion
• pain radiating to the upper arm
• pain with reaching behind the body (i.e., fastening a bra strap, reaching into the backseat of the car)

The rotator cuff is comprised of four muscles that attach the scapula (shoulder blade) to the humerus (upper arm bone). These muscles are the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis. These tendons form a “cuff” of tissue that is responsible for “rotating” the arm. The most commonly injured muscle of the rotator cuff is the supraspinatus, although any of the rotator cuff muscles can be involved in a tear. Rotator cuff tears can vary in size and location. Both the size and location of the tear will determine the appropriate treatment plan. Treatment plans can include:
• ice
• anti-inflammatories
• physical therapy
• corticosteroid injections
• surgical intervention

Surgical procedures for rotator cuff tears have become much less invasive over the past several years. I perform all rotator cuff repairs using the arthroscope. This technique uses small incisions instead of a large, invasive incision. Through these small incisions, a camera and special instruments are used to visualize and repair the rotator cuff. This allows for less tissue damage and a faster recovery.

Learn more and schedule an appointment through Dr. Argo’s Physician page