Your shoulder is aching, and it’s not getting any better. Now, it’s time to see a specialist to diagnose the issue. You think it may be your rotator cuff. Could it be torn?
Our board-certified orthopedic surgeons with Southern Westchester Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, located in Yonkers and Mamaroneck, New York, and the Bronx in New York City, are the experts you want to see if you have a shoulder issue.
Many shoulder injuries can be treated conservatively. However, if you need surgery for a shoulder issue, such as a torn rotator cuff, we perform the most advanced surgical procedures available today that yield excellent results.
Rotator cuff tear risk factors
Could your injury be a rotator cuff tear? If you use an overhead motion frequently when you play a sport or during work, you’re more prone to this injury because of overuse and extra wear-and-tear on your tendons and muscles.
Tennis players, baseball pitchers, and swimmers are some of the athletes most prone to a rotator cuff injury. If your work requires constant overhead motion of your arms, such as construction, painting, or heavy machinery operation, you may develop this issue.
Of course, if you’re of any age and are involved in a traumatic accident, you could sustain a rotator cuff tear. Aging is a factor in a tear caused by overuse, and it’s more prone to happen in your dominant arm.
Symptoms of a torn rotator cuff
Following are common symptoms of a rotator cuff tear.
- Mild pain that’s getting worse
- Over-the-counter pain relievers don’t help
- Weakness in your arm and shoulder, making it difficult to lift objects
- Pain that makes it difficult to raise your arm
- Pain at night that causes difficulty sleeping
- Pain when your arm is at rest
If you’ve been in a traumatic accident, you’ll have profound pain and weakness in your shoulder with a rotator cuff tear.
What to do if you think you’ve torn your rotator cuff
If you’ve been in a traumatic vehicle accident, go to the emergency room. If you’ve hurt your shoulder on the field or at work and you’re in severe pain, call our office right away. We’ll fit you into an emergency appointment slot. You can use ice packs on the injury to limit the swelling and take over-the-counter pain medication before you get to our office.
Perhaps your pain doesn’t stem from an accident or injury. If it starts slowly but increases, don’t wait to make an appointment. If you have a rotator cuff tear, the injury worsens without treatment.
Whether you have surgery depends on the severity of the injury. About 80% of people with partial tears improve with conservative treatment. Conservative treatment for rotator cuff tears may include the following:
- A sling to give your shoulder a chance to rest
- A time-out from your sport or your job if you’re using frequent overhead motions
- Prescription pain medication
- Physical therapy to strengthen the muscles around the rotator cuff
- A possible steroid injection to calm severe pain.
If you have a complete tear, you’re likely looking at surgery, especially if you need to use the arm to continue your sport or work.
Call or book an appointment online with Southern Westchester Orthopedics and Sports Medicine today for your shoulder pain. We get to the root cause of your pain and start you on a path to recovery right away.