New Orleans Orthopedic Institute
Orthopedic Shoulder Surgeons & Sports Medicine located in Slidell, LA & Metairie, LA
Every year, about 2 million Americans visit the emergency room as a result of a rotator cuff tear. Left untreated, a rotator cuff tear can lead to more serious problems, including general stiffness and immobility. Orthopedic shoulder surgeon, Brian Kindl, MD, and the team at New Orleans Shoulder Institute in Metairie, Hammond, and Slidell, Louisiana, specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of rotator cuff tears. If you regularly experience shoulder pain, request a consultation today by calling the office nearest you or using the online booking tool.
Rotator Cuff Tear Q & A
What is a rotator cuff tear?
Your shoulder joint contains three bones: your upper arm bone, your shoulder blade, and your collar bone. Your rotator cuff––a group of four muscles that come together as tendons––hold your shoulder in place and prevent it from coming out of the socket. Your rotator cuff also connects your upper arm bone to your shoulder blade, helping you lift and rotate your arm.
A rotator cuff tear is a common orthopedic injury known for causing pain and immobility in normally active adults. This type of injury is especially common in baseball and tennis players, which require athletes to lift their arms over their heads regularly. Over time, a rotator cuff tear weakens your shoulder. Without proper treatment, this can make simple activities such as getting dressed or combing your hair nearly impossible.
Are there different types of rotator cuff tears?
At New Orleans Orthopedic Institute, Dr. Kindl and the team diagnose and treat several types of rotator cuff tears, including:
A partial or incomplete rotator cuff tear damages your tendon but doesn’t completely sever it. If you suffer a partial tear, you'll still be able to move your arm up and down, but it’s incredibly painful to do so.
A full-thickness rotator cuff tear severs your rotator cuff completely. This causes one or more tendons to separate from your bone, creating a space. If you suffer a full-thickness rotator cuff tear, it’s important to seek treatment as soon as possible.
What are the symptoms of rotator cuff tears?
The symptoms of rotator cuff tears vary from person to person. Common telltale signs include:
- Weakness when lifting your arm
- Weakness when rotating your arm
- Pain when lifting
- Pain at rest
If you have a torn rotator cuff, you might also experience cracking or clicking sensations when you move your shoulder into certain positions.
How are rotator cuff tears diagnosed?
To diagnose a rotator cuff tear, Dr. Kindl reviews your medical history and asks about your symptoms. He also physically examines your shoulder, checking to see if it’s tender or if there’s a deformity. Dr. Kindl also measures the range of motion of your shoulder; he asks you to move your arm in several different directions and tests your arm strength.
If these measures don’t provide adequate information, Dr. Kindl might order a series of X-rays or an MRI to get a closer look at the bones, joints, and soft tissue in your shoulder joint.
How are rotator cuff tears treated?
Most rotator cuff tears respond to conservative, noninvasive measures of care like ice, rest, and elevation. You might also benefit from physical therapy or steroid injections. If your shoulder pain persists or doesn’t respond, surgical intervention may be necessary. Dr. Kindl regularly performs rotator cuff repairs using minimally invasive surgical techniques.
To request your rotator cuff tear appointment at New Orleans Orthopedic Institute, call the office nearest you or use the online booking tool today.