To request an appointment by phone, please click here.

What You Should Do If You Suspect You've Torn Your Rotator Cuff

What You Should Do If You Suspect You've Torn Your Rotator Cuff

A rotator cuff is a group of tendons and muscles responsible for keeping the top of your arm bone (humerus) inside your shoulder socket. It surrounds and protects your shoulder, but injuries to the rotator cuff are common. About 2 million people visit the doctor annually with rotator cuff injuries.

Rotator cuff injuries result in pain, reduced range of motion or flexibility, weakness, and stiffness. In severe cases, you may lose the ability to use your shoulder. 

There are many potential injuries that can affect the shoulder besides rotator cuff tears. If you suspect you’ve torn your rotator cuff and feel shoulder pain or lose functioning of your shoulder, call our team at Nevada Orthopedic & Spine Center for a diagnosis and treatment plan. 

What causes torn rotator cuffs

The tendons of your rotator cuff erode with wear and tear from the natural aging process. Repetitive motions accelerate the erosion process, activities like throwing a ball or working in construction jobs put you at higher risk for rotator cuff injuries.

A partial tear is when the tendon of the rotator cuff no longer fully attaches to the head of your upper arm bone. It often begins with slight fraying of the tendon. Over time, the damage increases, and the tendon becomes fully detached from the bone.

What to do if you think you injured your rotator cuff

If you suspect a torn rotator cuff or any other shoulder injury, don’t delay treatment. Left untreated, shoulder injuries progress, especially if the tendon is torn.

You can start with at-home, conservative treatments to see if it improves. Rest your shoulder, apply ice and compression as soon as you start experiencing pain. If it doesn’t improve after a day or two, schedule an appointment at Nevada Orthopedic.

Torn rotator cuff treatment options

After an exam and consultation to discuss your symptoms, the team at Nevada Orthopedic may order X-rays or magnetic resonance imaging (MRIs) to see what’s happening inside. Imaging helps us make an accurate diagnosis of your shoulder injury.

If you have a rotator cuff tear, treatment depends on the severity of the tear. Most torn rotator cuffs improve with nonsurgical treatments, including rest, ice, compression, pain medication, physical therapy, or steroid injections.

Surgery is recommended for severe rotator cuff tears that don’t respond to more conservative treatment options. Minimally invasive arthroscopic surgeries often provide access to the shoulder joint to reduce tissue damage. If the tear is too extensive, we may transfer a tendon from another area of your body to replace the one in your shoulder. 

If you suspect you have a rotator cuff tear, schedule an appointment online at the location nearest you or call Nevada Orthopedic & Spine Center for a consultation. 

You Might Also Enjoy...

Will an ACL Tear Heal on Its Own?

The ACL does not have a blood supply and cannot heal on its own. If you suspect a torn ACL, you need medical treatment to return to your physical activities.