Every year, thousands of Americans visit the doctor as a result of rotator cuff injuries. Without proper treatment, a rotator cuff injury can limit your mobility and prevent you from work and other routine activities. At Orthopaedic Surgical Associates, LLC in Fairbanks, Alaska, board-certified orthopedic surgeon Jimmy Tamai, MD, specializes in diagnosing and treating rotator cuff injuries. To request your appointment, call the office or click the online scheduling tool today.
A rotator cuff is a group of tendons and muscles that surround your shoulder joint, holding the head of your upper arm bone firmly within your shoulder socket. Your rotator cuff is incredibly durable and tough, but it isn’t invincible. If you regularly experience a dull ache or throbbing pain in one or both shoulders, a rotator cuff injury may be to blame.
A rotator cuff injury is a common musculoskeletal injury that occurs as a result of repetitive arm motions.
Anyone can experience a rotator cuff injury, but they’re especially common in athletes who repeatedly perform overhead motions, such as baseball pitchers or tennis players. Your job might also put you at risk. For example, if you’re a painter or carpenter, you might regularly lift your paintbrush or tools over your head.
Sometimes, rotator cuff injuries occur due to a sudden impact. However, they usually develop gradually over an extended period.
The symptoms of rotator cuff injuries vary from person to person and depend on the underlying cause. Telltale signs of rotator cuff injuries include:
As your rotator cuff injury gets worse, you might also experience arm weakness.
There’s no way to avoid rotator cuff injuries entirely, but you can significantly lower your risk by exercising the muscles in your chest, shoulders, and upper arms. If you play sports or use your arms in your job, you should also take time to stretch every morning. This alone encourages circulation.
To diagnose a rotator cuff injury, Dr. Tamai physically examines your shoulder and upper arm. He also gently presses on your shoulder and tests the strength of the muscles in your shoulders and arms. If necessary, Dr. Tamai might also order a diagnostic ultrasound or a series of X-rays.
Dr. Tamai usually recommends conservative treatments to ease pain caused by rotator cuff injuries. Depending on the cause of your injury, he might recommend physical therapy, corticosteroid injections, or hyaluronic acid injections.
If your pain persists or gets worse, surgical intervention may be necessary. There are several types of rotator cuff surgery, including:
To schedule your rotator cuff injury appointment with Dr. Tamai at Orthopaedic Surgical Associates, LLC, call the office or click the online scheduling tool today.