Athletes are subjected to a wide array of injuries and one injury that is sustained due to repetitive motions is a rotator cuff tear. These tears are common injuries sustained by athletes, and our orthopedic doctors have the answers to your most frequent questions.
What is the rotator cuff?
The rotator cuff surrounds the ball and socket joint of the shoulder and is used daily as stabilization of the joint.
How does my rotator cuff get injured?
Wear and tear is the most common cause of injury to the rotator cuff. In some cases, injury results due to a fall or a force to the arm and results in a tear in the rotator cuff.
Although normal wear and tear are hard to prevent, there are some ways to minimize the risk of serious injury. These include:
- Avoiding high risk, repetitive overhead activity
- Minimizing lifting heavy weights over your head
- Using proper technique when lifting
- Adequately resting between periods of intense physical activity (e.g. baseball pitching)
- Control blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and avoid cigarette smoking
How is a rotator cuff tear diagnosed?
Diagnosing a rotator cuff tear is done by an orthopedic specialist gaining a full history, physical exam, and diagnostic imaging such as an MRI. Although other medical professionals may be able to diagnose this condition, those who specialize in musculoskeletal medicine is best suited to diagnose and treat this type of injury.
How do I treat my rotator cuff tear?
The majority of patients with rotator cuff tears can be successfully treated without surgery. Treatment options in this instance might include activity modification, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), cortisone injections, and physical therapy. In some instances, surgery might be recommended if either conservative measures fail to help improve symptoms, or if the tear is large enough to compromise your function significantly. Thankfully, advanced surgical techniques such as arthroscopy have reduced postoperative pain, lessened scar tissue formation, and have achieved high success rates.
If you are an athlete who has injured their shoulder due to overuse or a fall, contact our Atlanta orthopedic doctors for a quick and accurate diagnosis. Dial (404) 855-2141 and speak with our qualified doctors who can get you on the road to recovery.