Your shoulders are actually much more important than you may realize. Whether it’s during sports, your morning routine, or daily errands, it’s easy to take your shoulder mobility for granted. While you use your shoulders every day, a rotator cuff injury can significantly impact your daily life. For this reason, it’s important to know how to prevent shoulder injuries and what to do if you experience one. Here’s what Dr. Goldberg recommends for orthopedic patients in the Naples area.
Preventing Rotator Cuff Injuries
Preventing rotator cuff injuries requires a twofold approach. Firstly, it’s important to take care of your shoulders with a stabilized exercise routine that targets flexibility, strength, and endurance. Your orthopedic surgeon can recommend the right exercises to build shoulder stability with a regular program. You should also ensure proper lifting methods when moving boxes or other heavy objects.
Rotator Cuff Injuries – What to Do
If you feel pain or tightness in your shoulder, schedule an appointment with your orthopedic surgeon right away to prevent further damage. Try to avoid overusing the shoulder and make sure to ice and take NSAIDs as needed. There are various types of rotator cuff injuries, so your orthopedic surgeon can assess your anatomy and determine the right treatment plan for you.
One type of rotator cuff injury is called tendonitis, which is inflammation of the tendons and muscles in the shoulders. This causes symptoms such as stiffness and pain, and is generally treated with ice and rest. It’s typically caused by overuse or keeping your arm in a single position for long periods of time.
Partial or Complete Tear
A more severe type of rotator cuff injury is a partial or complete tear of the muscles and tendons in the shoulder. These injuries may be caused by immediate trauma or gradual wear and tear over time. The latter is common in athletes or workers who lift heavy objects regularly. This may require surgery for best results.
Rotator Cuff Injury Treatments
Many patients don’t require surgery after a rotator cuff injury. Some treatment options may include strengthening or physical therapy exercises, anti-inflammatory medication, and steroid injections. However, if these conservative methods are not effective or if you have a significant tear, surgery may be recommended by your orthopedic surgeon.
Non-Surgical Treatment Options
Many patients can find relief through a physical therapy regimen and further prevention of shoulder injuries. Additionally, resting at home, taking predetermined doses of NSAIDs, and icing the area regularly can achieve relief in minor cases. Your orthopedic surgeon may also administer steroid injections to help the healing process.
Rotator Cuff Surgery
Surgical intervention greatly depends on the severity of the injury, as well as your lifestyle. Orthopedic specialist, Dr. Goldberg, typically recommends arthroscopic methods. During arthroscopic surgery, a tiny camera is inserted through a small incision, which is then broadcasted on a television screen so the surgeon can see and operate on the joint. Dr. Goldberg utilizes small instruments to examine, diagnose, repair, or remove injured tissue. However, depending on your specific condition, other surgical techniques may be employed.
Rotator Cuff Surgery Recovery
Rotator cuff surgery recovery is generally minor. To help build strength and stability in the shoulder joint, most patients begin physical therapy within one to two weeks of surgery and continue for as much as four months. Rotator cuff surgery is typically very successful and you can return to light work and daily activities within a week. To prevent further injuries, your physical therapist can give you exercises to continue at home and go over ways to ensure you get the most out of your shoulder’s function and ability.
Schedule a Consultation
If you’re experiencing difficulty with your shoulder, Dr. Goldberg can help. During an appointment, we can discuss your lifestyle goals and any concerns you have about avoiding injury. To get started, we invite you to contact our Naples-area office by calling or filling out our online form.