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Shoulder Rotator Cuff Tear

If you’re struggling with shoulder pain and suspect you may have a rotator cuff tear, you need experts who understand the bones, tendons and muscles in this highly complex joint. The doctors at Hand Center of Louisiana in New Orleans are here to offer their expertise and compassionate care to ensure you receive effective treatment.

Read on to learn more about what causes a rotator cuff tear and its potential symptoms. Then, schedule your appointment with us as soon as possible.

What Is a Rotator Cuff Tear?

The rotator cuff keeps the head of the upper arm bone (also known as the humerus) firmly in place within the shallow socket of the shoulder. This group of muscles and tendons see a lot of wear and tear from repetitive overhead motions. That’s why a rotator cuff tear is one of the most common causes of pain and disability among adults.

The two types of rotator cuff tears include:

  • Partial tear: This is when one or more tendons begin to tear or fray but are not entirely severed.
  • Full-thickness tear: This is when the tendon is completely torn and no longer fully attached to the head of the humerus. With this type of tear, there is a hole in the tendon.

What Causes a Torn Rotator Cuff?

The leading causes of rotator cuff tears are injury and degeneration. Injuries can occur when you try lifting something too heavy, or you fall onto an outstretched arm. Most tears, however, appear as the tendon slowly degenerates over time.

Degeneration can occur due to old age or repeating the same shoulder actions over and over again. This is especially true of those with jobs that cause overuse, or certain athletes, such as those who participate in:

  • Baseball
  • Tennis
  • Weightlifting
  • Rowing

Signs and Symptoms of a Torn Rotator Cuff

A torn rotator cuff makes many daily activities more difficult or even painful. The most common symptoms of a rotator cuff tear include:

  • Pain when lifting or lowering the upper arm.
  • A dull ache deep in the shoulder.
  • Consistent shoulder pain and weakness.
  • Arm weakness.
  • Disturbed sleep due to pain.
  • Difficulty reaching behind your back.
  • A crackling sensation when moving the shoulder to certain positions.

Rotator Cuff Tear Diagnosis

When you come to our New Orleans facility, our highly trained physicians will conduct an extensive physical examination. Besides discussing your symptoms and medical history, they will check for tenderness and test your arm’s range of motion and strength. Your doctor may also recommend imaging tests such as X-ray or MRI to confirm that your rotator cuff is indeed torn.

Rotator Cuff Tear Treatment in New Orleans

The earlier we treat your rotator cuff tear, the better the results. Continued use could worsen your condition and cause the tear to get larger. At first, we may recommend non-invasive interventions such as:

  • Rest.
  • A sling to immobilize the shoulder.
  • Modified activities.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
  • Steroid injections.

We may also recommend physical therapy at our New Orleans Hand Therapy Center, which is located within the Hand Center of Louisiana. If your condition does not improve, your doctor may wish to perform surgery at a nearby New Orleans hospital. This procedure usually involves re-attaching the tendon to the head of the humerus.

Effective Treatment for Rotator Cuff Tears at Hand Center of Louisiana

If you struggle with shoulder pain or weakness, don’t wait. The highly skilled team at Hand Center of Louisiana wants to help you. Our full suite of services ensures you get the best care possible, all under one roof. See why patients throughout the Gulf South region have entrusted us with their care. Schedule your appointment today.