Shoulder pain frequently is the result of an insult to the rotator cuff. The rotator cuff is a series of four muscles, the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, subscapularis and teres minor. These muscles abduct, internally and externally rotate the shoulder, as well as providing shoulder stability during motion.
Rotator cuff injuries are one of the more common shoulder complaints seen in our office. Tears of the rotator cuff can be either traumatic, resulting from a specific injury, or degenerative in nature. Studies have found the incidence of rotator cuff tears increases with age, ranging from approximately 20% in those 32 years old to 80% in those over 60.
Not all rotator cuff tears are symptomatic. In those that are, there are treatment options. A course of conservative treatment with rest, physical therapy, and possibly anti-inflammatory medications can resolve the pain and restore strength and range of motion. When this fails, surgery is an alternative.
Traditionally, rotator cuff surgery involved a large incision and detaching the deltoid muscle, which caused significant pain. However, due to advances in surgery, we are now able to fix the rotator cuff arthroscopically. This involves making three small incisions approximately 1cm long and using a camera and special instruments to perform the repair. The result is less pain and an ability to recover more rapidly in physical therapy.
Rotator cuff injuries are common and can be very debilitating. There are, however, treatment options, including rest, therapy and surgery. If you have questions or would like to be evaluated for a shoulder problem, please contact our office.
Doctor Jonathan L. Grantham is an orthopedic surgeon specializing in general orthopedics and sports medicine, with an emphasis on ACL Reconstruction, Rotator Cuff Surgery and Arthroscopy of the shoulder, knee, hip, elbow, and ankle. He is one of Ortho Four States 10 Fellowship Trained and Board Certified orthopedic surgeons, on a mission to restore patients’ quality of life.
Located only minutes from downtown Joplin, MO, Orthopaedic Specialists of the Four States (Ortho Four States) serves the entire Four State Area of Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma with a patient-first approach to world-class Orthopedic, Spine, Sports Medicine, Physical Therapy, Aquatic Rehabilitation and Interventional Pain Management care.