Rotator Cuff Injury Treatment Provided by a Board-Certified Orthopedic Surgeon & Shoulder Specialist in Lafayette, LA
The rotator cuff is a complex system of muscles and tendons that stabilize the shoulder joint and allow for a wide range of motion, providing the arm with the ability to rotate and lift. The rotator cuff muscles are secured to the upper arm bone (humerus) by four tendons, which keep the humeral head firmly positioned within its shallow socket (glenoid).
The shoulder joint is integral to many daily activities, and its extensive mobility makes it susceptible to injuries. For instance, a rotator cuff tendon can rupture suddenly through trauma, or tear gradually with repetitive use. An accurate diagnosis and prompt treatment are important because, when left untreated, a rotator cuff injury will typically worsen with continued activity.
What Are the Symptoms of a Rotator Cuff Tear?
A hallmark sign of a rotator cuff tear is difficulty reaching overhead and/or away from your body. Other indications include shoulder pain, stiffness, and weakness. These symptoms may be severe and develop suddenly at the time of the injury, or they may start off mild and worsen over time.
If you suspect that you have a rotator cuff injury, you are welcome to consult with Peter D. Vizzi, MD, a board-certified orthopedic surgeon and shoulder specialist who practices in Lafayette, Louisiana. In addition to reviewing your medical history and performing a physical examination, Dr. Vizzi may order one or more imaging studies to evaluate your rotator cuff injury (X-rays can be performed on site at Dr. Vizzi’s office, and he may order MRI and CT scans as needed).
How Is a Rotator Cuff Injury Treated?
Dr. Vizzi specializes in the latest repair techniques for rotator cuff tears. Depending on several factors, including the severity of your injury as well as your lifestyle and personal preferences, he can suggest an appropriate treatment plan to help alleviate your pain and improve your shoulder function. Some nonsurgical options include:
- Rest and activity modifications – To minimize the strain on your injured shoulder, Dr. Vizzi may suggest that you temporarily avoid overhead lifting. However, he may encourage you to perform gentle, progressive range-of-motion exercises, which may include certain overhead movements, to help prevent the development of frozen shoulder due to immobility. Also, you may wear a sling to limit excessive motion and protect your injury as it heals.
- Medications – Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can be helpful for reducing painful swelling in and around your shoulder joint.
- Physical therapy – Targeted stretches and exercises can enhance the flexibility of your shoulder and strengthen the muscles that support it.
- Steroid injections – A local anesthetic and cortisone medication can be judiciously injected directly at the injury site to help reduce inflammation and pain.
If your rotator cuff injury does not respond well to several weeks of conservative therapy, Dr. Vizzi may suggest surgery, which may involve re-securing the torn tendon to its original attachment site on the bone with special sutures. In some cases, Dr. Vizzi can perform this procedure arthroscopically using a miniature camera and tiny surgical instruments, which are inserted through a series of small incisions around the shoulder joint. As compared to traditional open surgery, this approach can offer several advantages, such as less pain, reduced risk of infection, and faster healing.
If you would like to meet with Dr. Vizzi to discuss treatment options for your rotator cuff injury, contact his office in Lafayette, LA, to schedule your consultation today.