Rotator Cuff Surgery
Common Rotator Cuff Injuries
A rotator cuff injury can cause a dull ache in the shoulder, which often worsens with use of the arm when it is extended away from the body. Why? Because the function of the rotator cuff, which is made up of a group of muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint, is to keep the head of your upper arm bone firmly within the shallow socket of the shoulder. Moving the arm away from the body can aggravate the area of injury, causing pain and inflammation.
Rotator cuff injuries are prevalent in competitive or recreational athletes engaged in activities involving the shoulder joint. These injuries are common and increase with age, and may occur earlier in people who have jobs that require repeatedly performing overhead motions. Examples include painters and carpenters.
Symptoms include shoulder pain, muscle weakness / loss of muscle, and stiffness or tenderness of the shoulder joint.
Treatments include use of pain medications, rest, physical therapy, corticosteroid injections, and possibly surgery if the injury is severe enough.
Many people can manage the symptoms of their rotator cuff disease and often return to activities with physical therapy exercises that improve flexibility and strength of the muscles surrounding the shoulder joint. Other require more aggressive treatment approaches, including surgery.
In cases where rotator cuff tears occur because of a single injury, the shoulder should be medically evaluated as soon as possible to discuss if surgery may be required. More extensive rotator cuff tears may not be fixable, and transfer of alternative tendons or joint replacement may be possible to correct the problem.
An "Insiders" View of Rotator Cuff Surgery
Arnot Health orthopedic surgeon Dr. Jared Smith narrates one of his rotator cuff repair surgeries.