Every year, more than two million Americans experience a problem with one of their rotator cuffs, which are what keep your shoulders stable and working in the shoulder socket. The rotator cuff comprises your shoulder capsule as well as a group of muscles and tendons, forming a “cuff” supporting the movement of your shoulder.
When the rotator cuff gets damaged, it can cause varying degrees of pain and disability in the shoulder – limiting your ability to move your arm. If this shoulder injury goes left untreated for a period of time, a torn rotator cuff may result in permanent disability in the arm.
Older adults face a heightened risk of degenerative rotator cuff tears, along with individuals whose occupations involve repetitive overhead motions, like painters and carpenters. If you experience persistent shoulder pain and weakness, it is in your best interest to see an orthopedic surgeon for an evaluation and treatment.
Your torn rotator cuff may or may not warrant surgery, and your orthopedic doctor will explain the least-invasive solution that would work best in your case. Let’s talk about how an orthopedic surgeon can treat a rotator cuff tear, and where you can go in South Florida for customized medical care of your hurt shoulder.
Conservative Treatment for a Torn Rotator Cuff
Minor rotator cuff tears often respond well to nonsurgical treatments. Your orthopedic doctor may advise you to wear a sling and to stop performing overhead arm movements for a while in order to give the shoulder time to heal. The physician may also prescribe pain medication to reduce shoulder pain and swelling.
Physical therapy is another non-invasive treatment option for a torn rotator cuff. Your physical therapist will design an exercise plan that strengthens your muscles and speeds up healing.
If your symptoms do not improve with physical therapy and noninvasive treatments, your orthopedist may recommend steroid injections into the shoulder. This physician-administered treatment delivers a high dose of medication directly into the affected joint, reducing inflammation and pain almost immediately. This can provide relief from your shoulder pain for many weeks.
Shoulder Surgery for a Rotator Cuff Tear
If your shoulder pain has become debilitating, your orthopedic surgeon may recommend surgery. The doctor may suggest surgery as your first option if your work or sport warrants heavy use of your arms.
There are several approaches a doctor can take for rotator cuff repair. For partial tears, your orthopedic doctor may only want to smooth out the fraying pieces of the torn tissue in order to avoid irritation in the shoulder.
For complete tears of the rotator cuff, your surgeon may need to reattach the tissue to the bone if it has pulled away. If the tear has cut straight through the cuff, the surgeon may insert sutures to help it heal back again.
Orthopedic Surgeon in Delray Beach, Boynton Beach, and Boca Raton, FL
If you’re searching for a gifted orthopedic surgeon, look no further than Dr. Steve Meadows of South Palm Orthopedics. Dr. Meadows is a board-certified and fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon with more than 25 years of clinical experience in upper-extremity conditions, including surgical and nonsurgical treatments.