Rotator Cuff Repair
Rotator cuff tears affect older adults and athletes. Studies show that up to two thirds of people over the age of 70 have rotator cuff tears, and no symptoms.
What is the rotator cuff?
The rotator cuff is a bundle of muscles and tendons, covered by the bursa, a sack of tissue that protects the cuff from contacting the bones. The rotator cuff holds the upper arm bone in the shoulder socket. It allows us to raise and rotate the arm, and provides strength and stability to the joint.
What is a rotator cuff tear?
A rotator cuff tear is the tear of a rotator cuff tendon and means the tendon is no longer fully attached to the humerus, the upper arm bone. It is a common injury that can cause pain and disability. Most cuff tears are the result of wear and tear. Many sports activities rely on a healthy rotator cuff including baseball, tennis and swimming.
What causes a rotator cuff tear?
Tears can result from an accident, a sudden fall on the arm, lifting heavy objects, repetitive use, and aging and deterioration of the tendon and muscles. The tear may be a partial or full thickness tear.
What are the symptoms of a rotator cuff tear?
- But, tears are not always painful and many people have no symptoms.
- Shoulder weakness that impairs daily life activities like brushing your hair or getting dressed
- Difficulty with overhead movements
- Pain that increases at night
- Restricted motion
- Catching and locking of the joint
- A feeling of instability
Symptoms tend to worsen when reaching backward to fasten a seatbelt, or pick up a heavy object, lifting heavy objects overhead, and with sports like pitching, throwing, tennis and racket ball.
How is a rotator cuff injury diagnosed?
Dr. Stark will take a full medical history and conduct a careful physical exam with certain muscle tests to determine if there are tears and rule out other conditions. Many times, tears can be diagnosed easily in Dr. Stark’s office.
He may order x-rays to rule out arthritis, and bone spurs, and to view the position of the bones which can imply a tear. An MRI will diagnose the tears and reveal their size, type and location. Early treatment can help you avoid further damage.