rotator cuff recovery

Rotator cuff tears are common causes of shoulder pain and injury. Gardner Orthopedics of Fort Myers, Florida, can help reduce your pain and make your shoulder healthy again. The top team of orthopedists and surgeons excel in the diagnosis, treatment, and surgery of rotator cuff tears. If you have a rotator cuff tear or face unknown shoulder pain, schedule an appointment with Gardner Orthopedics by calling or booking online today.

Rotator Cuff Injury Q & A

The shoulder rotator cuff consists of four muscles whose tendons converge at the top of the shoulder and top of the upper arm bone, called the humerus head. A tear in any of the associated tendons may result from a sudden force (acute), like lifting something heavy or falling, or from gradual use over time (chronic), like repeating the same motion over and over again.

For some cases, the tear may never be noticed or affect daily life, while in others it can be crippling and agonizing.

While there may be no symptoms at all, pain, stiffness, and weakness in the front outside of the shoulder often indicate rotator cuff tear or tendonitis. Symptoms and discomfort usually worsen with movement, and an audible clicking or popping may present.

The inability to raise your arm past 90 degrees is a common symptom that suggests a need for immediate consultation.

Acute tears are caused by sudden stresses too extreme for the rotator cuff tendons. If the tendons are healthy, it may take falling onto an outstretched arm to cause a tear, while if the tendons are weak or degenerated, a sudden lift of negligible weight can lead to a tear.

Chronic tears result from repeated and extended use of the tendons. Frequent repetition of the same motions like throwing and rowing create significant stress. Susceptibility to these tears increases with:

  • Aging
  • Natural wear over time
  • Poor biomechanics
  • Muscle imbalance

Diagnosis requires a medical history and physical examination. Additionally, the Gardner Orthopedics team uses imaging technologies like magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), x-rays, and ultrasounds to visualize your rotator cuff injury with more accuracy.

Initially, recommended treatment may include physical therapy to strengthen weak muscles and over-the-counter medications, like acetaminophen and aspirin, to address pain and swelling.

If exercises and behavioral changes don’t improve your condition, you may be a candidate for surgery. Gardner surgeons tailor the procedures to the injury, but they’re able to perform repairs including:

  • Stitching together a tear
  • Reattachment of a loose tendon to the bone
  • Removal of a small bone or tendon fragments

Based on your injury and general health, surgery may be;

  • Arthroscopic, using tiny instruments and a camera
  • Open, using larger tools directly on the muscles
  • Mini-open, combining arthroscopic and larger instruments

Following surgery, you wear a sling for 1-2 months to immobilize your shoulder. Short, gentle exercise routines increase blood flow and aid long-term recovery which can take up to a year before full use is regained.

If a torn rotator cuff has you looking for South Florida’s best care, schedule a consultation with Gardner Orthopedics by calling or booking online today.


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