Rotator cuff injuries are commonly associated with baseball pitchers, so you might assume spring is the busiest season at our clinic for torn rotator cuffs. Truth is, rotator cuff injuries keep our practitioners pretty busy throughout the year, not just spring. And the majority of the patients we see for this condition are middle-aged, not young athletes.
Most rotator cuff injuries fall under the “wear and tear” category. Yes, sometimes they occur as the result of acute trauma, but most frequently, the four tendons that comprise the rotator cuff simply wear down over time, resulting in a partial tear.
At first, it may be easy to ignore the pain of a partial tear, but as you continue to use your shoulder, the tear can get worse, weakening your arm and making everyday activities such as brushing your hair more difficult to accomplish. You may also find it difficult to find a pain-free position when you lie down to sleep.
While rotator cuff tears do not heal on their own and the symptoms will not abate without treatment, the news is not all bad. There are several effective non-operative options for relieving the pain, building strength, and restoring range of motion. An orthopedic specialist can help create a treatment plan individualized for you.
An orthopedic specialist can also help determine when surgery is needed, based several factors, such as your occupation, long-term shoulder pain, significant weakness, loss of function, or injury resulting from acute trauma.