What is a Rotator Cuff Tear?
The rotator cuff includes a group of tendons and muscles that are linked and surround the shoulder joint. Their main purpose is to maintain the stability of the upper arm to the shoulder socket and keep it in place. When an injury occurs to the rotator cuff and causes a tear, it may vary in severity and require immediate medical attention. Typically the result of an injury or traumatic event, a rotator cuff tear can result in a variety of symptoms that can make everyday tasks difficult to perform. Most individuals who have a rotator cuff injury often complain of a dull ache that worsens over time, and the injury makes everyday tasks and functions difficult. At Interventional Orthopedics of Atlanta, Dr. Christopher Williams provides optimal treatment options for individuals who have experienced a rotator cuff tear. Learn more about the available treatments by contacting our Atlanta, GA facility to schedule your initial consultation.
What are the Symptoms of a rotator cuff tear?
One of the most common symptoms of a rotator cuff tear is a constant, deep ache in the shoulder. Additional symptoms and side effects can also include:
- Difficulty sleeping, especially when lying on the injured shoulder
- Arm weakness
- Occasional sharp pains
- Difficulty raising your arm above your head
Prior to recommending any form of treatment for a rotator cuff tear, Dr. Williams will evaluate your current symptoms and medical history to determine the best procedure to allow you to receive optimal results.
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"This review is intended to be a 10 star review. This review is coming from a health care provider who is very selective when it comes to choosing a health care provider for my own health needs. July of this year I have had a procedure done at IOA, Dr. Chris Williams. Everything about my experience has exceeded my expectation. Dr. Williams has outstanding, exceptional clinical skills and demonstrate great deal of compassion and desire to truly help my condition. He has excellent communication skills and just very nice down to earth MD. I have experienced no pain throughout the procedure, very mild discomfort afterwards, and I am pleased with the outcome. The IOA office is beautiful, clean, calm, wonderful staff, and very welcoming. When you choose a doctor clinical skills and experience matters. However, when you find MD who is also very easy to relate to, has excellent communication skills, and just a very nice person, you got a winner. Dr. Williams and IOA, is my best recommendation for all of you who care to read this review. I have no doubt that any one of you will have the same wonderful experience I have had with Dr. Williams and staff."- A.K. / Google / Sep 02, 2022
"I was in an auto accident and went to Dr. William's office for a consultation. He performed a detailed examination and came up with a plan of action. Injections were administered and I am feeling better than I have in a long time. Dr. Williams and his staff took care of me very well throughout my procedure. I am scheduling to have another procedure to help me regain even more of my mobility and strength. If you are on the fence I would highly consider scheduling an appointment with Dr. Williams and his staff."- A.K. / Google / Sep 29, 2021
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What Causes Rotator Cuff Tears?
A rotator cuff tear can be caused by a significant injury or traumatic injury or be due to the everyday wear and tear on the area. Repetitive movements can also contribute to a rotator cuff tear. Additional risk factors may include age, participating in sports activities, construction jobs, and having a family history of rotator cuff injuries. The best way to prevent further rotator cuff injuries is to perform exercises to strengthen the shoulder, as well as the back muscles. After determining the exact cause of your rotator cuff tear, Dr. Williams will provide you with any necessary tips and recommendations to prevent future injuries to the area.
How Are Rotator Cuff Tears Diagnosed?
Rotator cuff tears are diagnosed through a combination of patient history, physical examination, and imaging tests, ensuring a thorough evaluation of the shoulder's condition. Initially, Dr. Williams will review your symptoms and medical history to understand the extent of your injury. This is followed by a physical exam to assess shoulder strength and range of motion. Imaging tests, such as MRI or ultrasound, are often utilized to confirm the diagnosis by providing detailed images of the rotator cuff. This comprehensive approach allows Dr. Williams to accurately diagnose rotator cuff tears and recommend the most effective treatment options for patients.
how do you treat a rotator cuff tear?
In some cases, conservative methods are all that is necessary to treat a rotator cuff tear. This could include rest, ice, physical therapy, or anti-inflammatory medication. If none of these alleviate your symptoms, Dr. Williams may then suggest steroid injections into the affected shoulder to help provide pain relief. In more severe cases of a rotator cuff tear, surgery may be the only available option for eliminating painful symptoms. After your thorough consultation, Dr. Williams will explain all of your available treatment options to you and let you know what you can expect throughout the treatment process.
Rotator Cuff Tears FAQ
What happens if a torn rotator cuff goes untreated?
Without professional treatment, your pain can worsen, and you may have difficulties with your range of motion and strength. This could impact your ability to perform daily activities, which may prevent you from living a good quality of life. In severe cases, a torn rotator cuff could cause you to lose your ability to move your shoulder permanently.
Does a torn rotator cuff hurt all the time?
Patients often feel rotator cuff pain during the night or with specific movements. Sometimes, the pain is so severe that it wakes you up. If not treated with medicine, rest, or physical therapy, you run the risk of more severe symptoms.
Can a rotator cuff tear heal on its own?
Most rotator cuff muscles cannot heal by themselves. However, you can improve the function without necessarily needing surgery through options, like medications, rest, or physical therapy. Patients who use their jobs to lift things overhead or participate in sports may require more advanced options, such as surgery.
Will my rotator cuff tear get worse over time?
Yes, without treatment, the tear can worsen over time. This is often accompanied by increased pain and further restriction in shoulder mobility. The extent of worsening can depend on factors like the initial size of the tear, your age, and the level of physical activity you engage in.
Can I prevent a rotator cuff tear?
While you can't completely eliminate the risk, you can certainly take steps to minimize it. Regularly exercising to strengthen shoulder muscles, maintaining good posture, and avoiding excessive, repetitive overhead activities can help. It's also important to listen to your body and rest your shoulder if you feel any persistent pain or discomfort.
Find Relief Today
A rotator cuff tear can greatly affect your ability to perform everyday tasks, leading to pain and difficulty sleeping. At our Atlanta, GA facility, Dr. Christopher Williams can diagnose and treat rotator cuff tears to allow you to live more comfortably. Contact Interventional Orthopedics of Atlanta to learn more and to schedule your initial consultation with Dr. Williams.
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