Can I Still Play Sports with a Rotator Cuff Tear?

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Whether you're an athlete, a fitness enthusiast, have a physically demanding job, or simply need to blow dry your hair — having a torn rotator cuff can be a frustrating and disruptive experience. Not only that, but rotator cuff tears can be a hindrance, even making it difficult to sleep comfortably. For some people, however, it may be possible to push through a rotator cuff tear — but this can cause more serious complications and even lead to a total loss of shoulder motion. Here, orthopedic injury and pain management specialist Dr. Christopher Williams of Interventional Orthopedics of Atlanta answers common questions about rotator cuff injuries, including why it is important not to resume certain physical activities too soon and what rotator cuff treatment options can help you get back to your full range of motion and relieve your pain in Atlanta.

How do I know if my rotator cuff is torn?

In many cases, a rotator cuff tear is caused by an acute injury or motion, though long-term overuse, repetitive motion, and natural wear and tear on the joints and tissues can also contribute to a torn rotator cuff. While a rotator cuff tear may seem like it would be impossible to ignore, some people don't even realize they've torn their rotator cuff — which refers to the group of tendons and muscles that are linked together and surround the shoulder joint. Still, there are some classic signs of a torn rotator cuff that are important to be aware of to recognize when you may have sustained the injury and when it's appropriate to seek evaluation and treatment. Some of the most common signs and symptoms of a rotator cuff tear include:

  • Difficulty sleeping, particularly on the affected side
  • Numbness, weakness, or tingling in the arm
  • Occasional sharp pains in the shoulder or arm
  • Pain and/or difficulty raising your arm above your head

If you are experiencing signs of a rotator cuff tear, it's important to contact a specialist to prevent worsening complications, get relief from your pain, and restore your range of motion as soon as possible.

Can I keep working out with a torn rotator cuff?

Even if your rotator cuff pain is not significant enough to prevent you from exercising or playing sports, it is still critical to follow your doctor's instructions and refrain from resuming physical activity too soon. Playing sports with a torn rotator cuff — which includes weightlifting and exercising in general — can lead to more severe pain, delayed healing, and long-term damage, and loss of motion or feeling in the shoulder.

How can a torn rotator cuff be treated quickly?

Dr. Williams understands the desire to get back to your normal routines as soon as possible after a rotator cuff tear in Atlanta and will work closely with you to determine the most appropriate and effective treatment for your torn rotator cuff. In some cases, conservative methods like rest, ice, and over-the-counter medications may be sufficient, while more extensive injuries and pain may require interventions like steroid injections or regenerative therapies. Regardless of which rotator cuff treatment is used, patients should be committed to following their aftercare instructions and allowing their bodies plenty of time to heal and recover to prevent a prolonged treatment course and to protect their long-term health.

Get back in the game sooner with advanced rotator cuff injury treatments in Atlanta, GA

Whether you're suffering from excruciating rotator cuff pain and desperately need relief, or you're only experiencing mild pain but you're anxious to start hitting the gym and getting back to sports as soon as possible, our team of Atlanta, GA, orthopedic specialists is here to help. Discover more about our comprehensive suite of innovative and regenerative therapy options for musculoskeletal pain and injury relief by calling to schedule your consultation with Dr. Christopher Williams at Interventional Orthopedics of Atlanta today.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.