Pain in your shoulder, especially if it’s associated with moving your arm, may signal a rotator cuff tear. Emile Wakim, MD, and Robert Ahearn, MD, at Pacifica Orthopedics use in-house diagnostic imaging to determine the severity of your rotator cuff tear, and then develop a customized treatment plan to restore optimal strength and stability. If you have a question about shoulder pain or you need to schedule an appointment, call the office in Huntington Beach California, or book an appointment online.
Your rotator cuff is a group of four muscles and their tendons that are responsible for stabilizing your shoulder joint. As they hold the bones in place, these muscles also allow the full range of arm movement.
Due to the movement and stress placed on your shoulder, the rotator cuff is very susceptible to injuries and tearing.
In most cases, rotator cuff tears occur in the tendons that connect the muscles to your upper arm. You can develop a tear in two ways:
You may suffer an injury that suddenly tears the rotator cuff. This often happens from falling on your arm or lifting a heavy object.
Most rotator cuff injuries develop gradually as age-related degeneration and repetitive movements cause small tears. Over time, the small tears worsen, cause inflammation and ultimately lead to a complete tear.
An acute tear may cause sudden and severe pain. However, you may not have symptoms if your tear is small.
As the injury worsens, you’ll experience shoulder pain when at rest and while moving your arm. You may also have arm weakness and popping sounds or sensations in your shoulder.
Getting early treatment is important because your rotator cuff tear will progressively worsen if you continue to use the muscles.
First-line treatment for a mild rotator cuff tear may include options such as modifying your activities, exercises to strengthen the muscles, and physical therapy. The doctors at Pacifica Orthopedics may also recommend steroid injections, which significantly reduce inflammation and pain.
A completely ruptured tendon requires a different approach. When you have a complete tear, the tendon won’t heal on its own. That’s when your doctor at Pacifica Orthopedics may recommend surgery to restore shoulder strength and stability.
Dr. Wakim repairs rotator cuff tears using arthroscopic surgery. This type of minimally invasive procedure causes less bleeding and postoperative pain. It also promotes a quicker recovery.
After your surgery, your next step is in-house rehabilitation with a specialist who can help you restore optimal shoulder strength and get you back in the game.
When you develop shoulder pain, schedule an appointment as soon as possible by calling Pacifica Orthopedics or using online booking.