The rotator cuff in your shoulder is one of those areas that you often take for granted until something goes wrong — and then you realize just how much you rely on it. When you tear your rotator cuff, even the simple act of eating can be compromised. At Peninsula Orthopedic Associates (POA), the team of surgeons helps their patients in Daly City, California, regain full use of their shoulders using the most advanced surgical techniques available. To wave goodbye to shoulder pain, call or use the online scheduling tool to book an appointment.
If you windmill your arms for just a moment, you understand the incredible range of motion that your shoulder provides. This ball-and-socket joint attaches your arms to your body, while also allowing freedom of movement, and much of it is made possible by your rotator cuff.
Your rotator cuff isn’t one tendon, but rather the tendons of four muscles — infraspinatus, supraspinatus, subscapularis, and teres minor — in your upper arm, which come together to form your rotator cuff. This important connective soft tissue connects the long bone of your arm (humerus) to your shoulder blade (scapula) and allows you to raise and rotate your arms.
The rotator cuff also keeps your humerus tightly in the socket (glenoid) when your arm is raised.
For your shoulder to function normally, each muscle must be healthy, securely attached, coordinated, and conditioned. When there are full or partial tears to the rotator cuff tendons, movement of your arm up or away from your body is hampered, making it difficult or impossible to rotate your arm in its ball-and-socket joint.
After a thorough evaluation using advanced imaging, your doctor at POA determines the best course of action in order to help relieve your shoulder pain and restore full range of motion and stability to your arm.
If your tear is partial, your doctor starts conservatively with the RICE method to control the pain and inflammation:
Your doctor also recommends anti-inflammatory medications, such as non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs, for pain relief. This conservative treatment, alongside physical therapy and cortisone injections, may be enough to help your tear heal.
If the tear extends through the complete thickness of your tendon, the surgeons at POA offer several options depending on the size, depth, and location of the tear, including:
Your surgeon inserts miniature instruments through small incisions to remove bone spurs or inflammatory portions of your muscle and to repair lesser tears.
Combining arthroscopy and a small incision, your doctor can repair a full-thickness tear.
In more severe cases, your doctor may need to turn to open surgery to repair your injured tendon. Sometimes your surgeon uses a tissue transfer or a tendon graft to do this.
If your joint is beyond repair, POA also offers joint replacement surgery.
Recovering from shoulder surgery takes time, and you should expect at least six months for your shoulder to heal properly. The success of your recovery is also largely based on your commitment to the exercise program your surgeon prescribes.
With your diligence and your doctor’s care, you should be rewarded with pain-free movement of your shoulder.
To learn more about the options for rotator cuff tears, call Peninsula Orthopedic Associates, or use the online scheduler to book an appointment.