About Rotator Cuff Injuries
Rotator cuff injuries vary in severity and are one of the most common reasons why men and women visit Dr. Flanagin for a consultation. The rotator cuff represents a group of tendons and muscles that are intertwined and surround the shoulder joint. Their primary purpose is to keep the head of the upper arm bone secured within the shoulder socket. Most individuals who have a rotator cuff injury often complain of a dull ache that worsens over time, and the injury makes everyday tasks and functions difficult. The injury is most commonly seen among men and women who perform repeated overhead movements or sports, such as basketball or golf. The injury tends to worsen with age, and many times will require surgery for an effective recovery. However, most patients who present with tears in the rotator cuff do not ever describe an injury preceding the onset of their pain. This is termed a “degenerative” tear of the rotator cuff, and represents the most common type of rotator cuff tear that Dr. Flanagin sees in his practice.
Symptoms of a rotator cuff tea
A constant, dull ache is a common symptom of a rotator cuff injury. Most patients will describe the pain as being located along the side of the shoulder or upper arm area. Those suffering from a rotator cuff tear usually have trouble sleeping on the side where the injury exists. They have difficulty doing everyday activities that require lifting the arm above their head such as brushing their hair or reaching for a glass. In addition, normal movements such as scratching your back can sometimes be very difficult to perform. Numbness, overall weakness, and occasional sharp pains can also occur. We will perform specific tests to determine if there is a rotator cuff injury that is causing your shoulder pain and once the injury is diagnosed, a proper treatment plan will be prescribed.
"Very professional, listens to questions/concerns, provides logical answers and concise information on medical issue(s), a no nonsense yet personable physician with a dry wit and integrity. He will not rush to surgery unless warranted. And, will not order a bunch of unnecessary tests. I highly recommend Dr Flanagan."- L. / Healthgrades / Oct 19, 2017
"Dr. Flanigan did emergency surgery on my husband's distal biceps tear. My husband returned to full recovery in record time. His success was better than expected and he is 100% and back to lifting weights. We thoroughly researched this doctor and he came recommended as the doctor people call when surgery has gone wrong with another surgeon. We could not be more pleased with his staff and the results."- C.K. / Yelp / Nov 04, 2019
"Years ago I had extensive surgery on my shoulder from the top shoulder surgeon at a premier teaching hospital in NYC. That surgeon was known as the best shoulder surgeon for good reason. I recently had shoulder surgery with Dr. Flanagin. I can sincerely say that he is every bit skilled as my long ago surgeon and far exceeded that doctor in terms of spending time with me, both pre and post-op. The previous surgeon had residents do the follow up work. Dr. Flanigin spent an incredible amount of time with me answering every question I had. I give him five stars not only for his fine surgical skills but for his people skills. He is awesome. I would highly recommend him to anyone."- G.M. / Healthgrades / Sep 03, 2019
"This review is long overdue. It has been a little over a year since Dr. Flanagin provided me with a new reversed shoulder replacement. I thank whatever stars were in alignment at that time when Dr Flanagin agreed to perform the procedure. I am so grateful for his obvious skills along with his "office bedside manner". He was able and had the patience to explain in terms I could understand what the surgery and it's aftermath involved.Never hesitate in choosing Dr. Flanagin as your surgeon. I cannot thank him enough for what he did for me and my destroyed shoulder."- M.H. / Healthgrades / Aug 20, 2019
"Amazing Relief - Dr. Flanagin is over the top, I had shoulder replacement surgery, he has been with me every step of the way. Extremely attentive and most of all gave my life back to me I totally recommend his services and the staff is also very considerate and attentive. Thank you Dr. Flanagin for being the "Best""- Anonymous / Vitals / Apr 02, 2019
Types of Rotator Cuff Injuries
Rotator cuff injuries can vary in severity, ranging from tendinitis and bursitis, to a partial or a full tear. A large majority of rotator cuff injuries can be treated without surgery. However, if the tear is the result of a true traumatic injury then surgery is commonly recommended. In addition, in the most extreme cases where the tear is irreparable, a tendon transfer or replacement surgery may be recommended.
- Tendinitis/tendinopathy: When the shoulder is exposed to overuse or overload, inflammation can occur within the rotator cuff tendons. This is known as tendinitis.
- Bursitis: When the bursa, which is the fluid-filled sac between the tendons and the shoulder joint, becomes inflamed, bursitis can occur. This is a common symptom of overuse among athletes that partake in overhead activities.
- Rotator cuff tears: Tears can range in severity partial to full-thickness tears. Full-thickness tears can be described as small, medium, large or massive. Ice, rest, and anti-inflammatory medications can typically help treat tendinitis or bursitis, however, if these conditions are not treated appropriately, a larger injury, such as a strain or a tear in the rotator cuff region can occur. Surgery is usually needed when a tear within the rotator cuff occurs that is not improved with the above modalities. This can range from a repair of the torn rotator cuff tendon or, in the event of a massive irreparable tear, a tendon transfer or reverse total shoulder replacement.
Individuals who are diagnosed with a rotator cuff injury can often recover without having to undergo a surgical procedure. For tendinitis, bursitis, and even some degenerative tears of the rotator cuff, ice, rest, and anti-inflammatory medication, along with specific exercises to improve motion can help heal the injury. Sometimes injections are performed as well depending on the severity of the patient’s symptoms. If surgery is needed, arthroscopic surgery will be used in the overwhelming majority of cases to repair the torn rotator cuff. Some cases involving massive irreparable tears will require a tendon transfer, and in the most severe cases, shoulder replacement surgery may need to be considered. Without the proper treatment, rotator cuff disease can lead to progressive joint degeneration, which can result in continued pain, weakness and dysfunction.
Find Relief Today
Shoulder pain can prevent you from participating in the things you love most in life, but it can also stop you from doing everyday tasks. If you experience constant or worsening shoulder pain, we invite you to contact our orthopedic office today for a full evaluation. Our dedicated team of shoulder specialists will help prepare an accurate diagnosis and an effective treatment plan that will get your arm moving again without pain or worry.