Rotator Cuff Specialist

Methodist Physician Group Orthopedic and Spine Center -  - Orthopedic Surgeon

Methodist Physician Group Orthopedic and Spine Center

Orthopedic Surgeons & Spine Surgeons located in Merrillville, IN & Gary, IN

As specialists in orthopedics, the physicians with the Merrillville, Indiana Methodist Physician Group Orthopedic and Spine Center handle many different types of sports-related injuries including torn rotator cuffs. Injuries to this critical group of muscles and tendons occur due to repeated use, which is why you see this problem often in baseball pitchers or tennis pros.

Rotator Cuff Q & A

What is the rotator cuff?

The rotator cuff is a bundle of muscles and tendons that encircle the shoulder joint to secure it. The shoulder consists of a ball and socket joint. The ball sits at the tip of the humerus or arm bone. The socket portion of this joint connects to the scapula, the winged shaped bone in the back. The rotator cuff is what holds these two pieces in place while the arm moves around. Without it, the ball can easily come out of the socket with each overhead rotation.

What is a rotator cuff injury?

An injury to this tight group of connective tissue is sometimes referred to as rotator cuff disease because it's usually a cumulative stress problem. Think about how a tennis player uses the shoulder. The ball goes up in the air, and the arm with the racket reaches high and slams forward to serve it. Someone who does that one hard movement over and over can cause inflammation that grows into tears if left untreated. The tears continue to widen with even minor shoulder use until the movement of the joint becomes compromised. Tearing of the rotator cuff leaves the shoulder immobile.

What are the symptoms of rotator cuff disease?

The symptoms will vary based on the severity of the problem, but some common indications include:

  • A dull ache that feels deep in the joint
  • Difficulty sleeping on one side
  • Trouble with even minor movements like brushing teeth
  • Arm weakness

Since this condition does accumulate, it's best to see a specialist at Methodist Physician Group Orthopedic and Spine Center if you feel any shoulder or arm pain, especially if it comes with a loss of motion. If there's a severe tear, early treatment can lessen the effect.

What is the treatment for a rotator cuff tear?

Minor injuries will do well with a conservative approach that includes icing and physical therapy to build in the muscles of the shoulder and upper back. More serious tears require more aggressive treatments such as:

  • Steroid injections into the joint
  • Extensive physical therapy
  • Arthroscopic tendon repair
  • Traditional "open" repair
  • Removal of bone spurs irritating the rotator cuff

The physicians at Methodist Physician Group Orthopedic and Spine Center will create a comprehensive treatment plan to allow the muscle group to heal.