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Although injury to the rotator cuff can be the result of trauma, such as a dislocation or fracture, tears in any component of the rotator cuff are most often caused by overuse, which are commonly referred to as wear-and-tear injuries. Any sport or activity that requires repetitive arm movement, like tennis, weight lifting or painting, can lead to a rotator cuff injury. Those who develop tears through overuse may also have experienced several months of pain associated with inflammation—either bursitis, which is inflammation of the joint bursa, or tendonitis, which is inflammation of one or more tendons.
The symptoms of a rotator cuff tear depend on the cause. Tears caused by trauma may create an immediate and sharp pain in the shoulder, as well as weakness in the arm. Tears caused by overuse may create pain that begins as a minor twinge when lifting the arm. With overuse injuries, pain may develop into chronic distress in the shoulder that radiates and limits your arm and shoulder movements. Pain may even interrupt your sleep.
In order to diagnose you properly, your doctor will consider your symptoms and examine your shoulder and neck to ensure that your pain isn’t caused by a pinched nerve, arthritis or another condition. You will be asked to perform a few simple movements, too, so that your doctor can measure your range of motion. Your doctor may also require you to have X-rays to look for contributing bone issues, including spurs or calcifications and a MRI to look more closely at the soft tissue (muscles and tendons) of the joint.
For New Jersey patients who live in Ridgewood and surrounding areas of Bergen County, a proper diagnosis and reliable treatment are just minutes away. Dr. Robert Kayal and his team of experienced surgeons have offices in Franklin Lakes, Glen Rock, Westwood, Paramus, Garfield, Paterson, North Bergen and Montvale (coming in 2020), and a location in Stony Point, NY. The team has earned admission privileges at Chilton Medical Center, Hackensack Medical Center Main and Pascack Valley, and The Valley Hospital.
Usually tears need to be fixed by a rotator cuff surgeon. When Dr. Robert A. Kayal and his team of elite orthopaedic surgeons in Bergen County perform your rotator cuff surgery arthroscopically, the procedure is less traumatic to the body. In addition, you’ll experience reduced blood loss, small surgical scars, and a decreased need for narcotics or other pain medications. Minimally invasive surgery patients usually have less postoperative pain, scarring and scar tissue buildup, too—which expedites rehabilitation and leads to a faster return to daily activities.
Because traditional shoulder replacement surgery can reduce range of motion and sometimes even increase pain, a reverse total shoulder replacement can be an option for patients with rotator cuff tears. The procedure is similar to conventional joint replacement because damaged tissue is replaced with a prosthetic joint. However, it differs because the position of the ball and socket is flipped, allowing healthy muscles and tendons to take over for a rotator cuff that can’t be repaired.