ROTATOR CUFF TEAR – 3 Things You MUST Know!
Rotator Cuff Tear – 3 Things You MUST Know!
Certain shoulder injuries can be extremely painful and may cause a large disruption in one’s life. One of these shoulder injuries is the rotator cuff tear. When people say they have a “rotator cuff tear” they usually are referring to a tear of the supraspinatus tendon. The supraspinatus is one of four muscles that make up the rotator cuff.
Why Does a Rotator Cuff Tear Hurt So Bad?
The rotator cuff serves two functions; move the shoulder joint and keep the humerus or arm bone sitting correctly in the socket. The vast majority of muscles are responsible for movement; however the rotator cuff has the job of keeping the ball in the socket as well. Therefore anytime you are in an upright position, a rotator cuff tear will hurt as it tries to keep the ball inside of the socket. When a rotator cuff tears what are the treatment options?
I Have a Rotator Cuff Tear, Now What?
1) The first and most conservative approach is physical therapy. PT for a rotator cuff tear should always be the first line of defense unless a full thickness (complete) tear occurs.
2) If a surgeon wants to operate on a partial rotator cuff tear, seek another opinion. I usually seek 3 opinions.
3) A full thickness (complete) tear or very large partial thickness often will require surgery. This surgery involves a reattaching of the tendon to the bone. Rotator cuff surgery involves one of the most painful and delicate rehabilitations in orthopedics. A rotator cuff surgery rehab will take 3-6 months depending on the orthopedic surgeon and physical therapist team.
Remember just as fixing cars is a business, fixing people is too. We have all been to the car dealership for a noise and end up paying triple than what we expected. Find 3 opinions from orthopedic surgeons. Surgeons do surgery, they have spent a major part of their lives learning how to perform surgery. When talking to an orthopedic surgeon for a rotator cuff repair, remember surgery is what pays their bills. Ask if you can try physical therapy before surgery. Do not just go to the physical therapist or physical therapy clinic they tell you to go to. A lot of orthopedic surgeons around the country just as in my town own physical therapy clinics in Tampa, Wesley Chapel, FL area. Therefore they make money on sending you to their physical therapy clinic. Stay informed!
Ryan Whelton, MSPT, DPT
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