Each year in the United States, more than 2 million adults develop chronic pain from rotator cuff tears. If you can’t work or play sports because of a rotator cuff tear, you can find help at North Point Orthopaedics. The orthopedic specialists use in-office diagnostic technologies to identify rotator cuff damage. They also use nonsurgical therapies and advanced, minimally invasive surgical techniques to repair torn tissues, so you regain full range of motion in your shoulder. Call the office in Munster or Crown Point, Indiana, to schedule a diagnostic evaluation of rotator cuff tears or book an appointment online.

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What are rotator cuff tears?

Your rotator cuff is a group of muscles that form a strong tendon to keep your shoulder joint in place. This tendon connects your humerus bone (upper arm bone) to your shoulder blade and allows you to rotate and lift your arm. There are two types of rotator cuff tears — partial and full-thickness tears. Partial tears occur when the tissue is damaged but still connects to your bone. A full-thickness tear describes the separation of tendon from bone. Rotator cuff tears occur when you fall down with your arms outstretched or if you lift heavy objects repeatedly or incorrectly. You can also experience a rotator cuff tear when your tendons start breaking down as you get older. People over 40 and those who work manual labor jobs are at increased risk for rotator cuff tears. This type of shoulder injury is also common among athletes, especially those that play tennis or baseball, because of the repetitive shoulder movements they make during practices and games.

When should I seek treatment for rotator cuff tears?

You should schedule a diagnostic evaluation for rotator cuff tears at North Point Orthopaedics if you have symptoms of a rotator cuff tear that you can’t treat on your own. Symptoms can include:

  • Persistent shoulder pain
  • Arm pain or weakness
  • Cracking sounds with shoulder movement
  • Loss of range of motion in your shoulder
  • Sleep disruptions from shoulder pain

The orthopedic specialists can confirm a rotator cuff tear during a physical exam of your shoulder joint and X-rays or other diagnostic imaging tests. You may also need arthroscopy to confirm your diagnosis. During this minimally invasive procedure, your surgeon inserts a narrow tube with an attached camera to closely assess your inner joint structures. The camera sends real-time images of your joint to an external monitor so the providers can identify tissue tears, inflammation, and other causes of shoulder pain.

How are rotator cuff tears treated?

If you have a partial rotator cuff tear, you may find relief from inflammation and pain with activity modifications and nonsurgical treatments like:

  • Medications
  • Physical therapy
  • Steroid injections
  • Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections

If you have a full-thickness rotator cuff tear, you will likely need surgery to reattach the tendon to your upper arm bone. The North Point Orthopaedics surgeons can repair your rotator cuff using minimally invasive, arthroscopic techniques that require only a few small incisions. In some cases, they may need to use larger incisions to make the repairs. In the weeks following your surgery, your provider may recommend that you start physical therapy to restore your shoulder’s flexibility and function. North Point Orthopaedics offers on-site physical therapy services to support your rehabilitation. To schedule a diagnostic evaluation for symptoms of rotator cuff tears, call the North Point Orthopaedics office nearest you today or book an appointment online.