You don’t think about your shoulder’s rotator cuff until something goes wrong. Pain, stiffness, and more limit your ability to do your usual activities at home, work, or on the athletic field.
Let’s look at this important component of your musculoskeletal system, how you can tell you have suffered a rotator cuff tear, and where you can go for a rotator cuff tear treatment in Broward County, FL.
Rotator Cuff Anatomy and Function
A rotator cuff is a group of four muscles attached to the upper arm (humerus) and the shoulder blade (scapula). The rotator cuff keeps the shoulder joint stable and mobile–that is, the humerus remains in the socket and moves in 360 degrees of motion. These four shoulder joint muscles can stretch, fray, or completely or partially tear, causing substantial chronic pain and inflammation related to fluid-filled sacs called a bursa.
Signs of a Rotator Cuff Tear
About two million people annually experience symptoms of rotator cuff tears. They may develop trouble with ordinary tasks of daily life, such as putting on a sweater, brushing their hair, or reaching overhead to remove something from a shelf in the kitchen, garage, or workstation.
Signs that this kind of difficulty stems from the rotator cuff in the shoulder are:
- Pain upon lifting the arm upwards
- Discomfort when trying to sleep on the injured side
- Decreased range of motion and flexibility
- Muscular weakness (cannot carry even lightweight objects easily and safely)
- Grating or grinding noises when moving the shoulder joint (doctors call this crepitus)
People who are middle-aged and up are at risk for rotator cuff tears, particularly if they engage in repetitive motions, such as painting walls or serving tennis balls. Younger people can tear rotator cuffs due to a fall or collision. The elderly may have slowly fraying tears resulting from progressive muscular weakness related to arthritis or instability (risk for dislocation) in the shoulder joint.
Finally, certain orthopedic fractures can lead to rotator cuff symptoms. Typically, these fractures involve the collarbone, clavicle, or wrist.
Getting Your Shoulder Assessed
During an in-office consultation with an orthopedic surgeon, you’ll undergo some imaging tests, such as X-rays or an MRI. Also, you’ll discuss your symptoms and any circumstances, such as a fall, which may have precipitated your condition. The orthopedic specialist will assess the motion and strength in your affected arm and visually inspect it for any noticeable deformity.
From there, the physician will recommend treatments to stabilize and strengthen your shoulder and, if necessary, repair the tear surgically. Non-invasive interventions, such as steroid injections, pain meds, and physical therapy, help many tears heal naturally. Your doctor will consider your age, activity level, and the severity of the tear in formulating your care.
Top Orthopedic Surgeon in Broward County, FL
If you have chronic shoulder pain and would like to have a medical evaluation, schedule a consultation with our outstanding medical team at Paul Meli Orthopedic Surgery. Dr. Meli has many years of successful experience treating a wide variety of orthopedic conditions, sports injuries, and work-related injuries.
We look forward to serving you!