Rotator Cuff Injury

Learn about rotator cuff surgery and nonsurgical treatment options.

Your rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons attached to the bones of the shoulder joint. The rotator cuff helps the shoulder move and keeps it stable in the shoulder socket.

A rotator cuff injury can be painful and limit the shoulder’s ability to move. If you have a rotator cuff injury, our joint care team has surgical and nonsurgical treatment options to treat it.

Rotator cuff injuries we treat

We treat both rotator cuff tendinitis and rotator cuff tears:

  • Rotator cuff tendinitis is an irritation of the tendons that help make up the rotator cuff and an inflammation of the bursa (a normally smooth layer of cushioning tissue lining the tendons)
  • A rotator cuff tear is a tear in one of these tendons caused by either overuse or an injury

Treatment options for rotator cuff injuries

Your doctor will examine your shoulder to determine the extent of your injury. You’ll work together to create a treatment plan.

We usually recommend that patients start with conservative treatments for rotator cuff tendinitis and rotator cuff tears, including:

  • Avoiding or reducing activities that irritate the shoulder
  • Ice packs applied to the shoulder
  • Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory

If these treatments don’t work, or if the pain is too severe, a joint injection may reduce pain and swelling in the shoulder. Your doctor may also recommend physical therapy to strengthen the shoulder muscles.

Rotator cuff surgery

You may need surgery to repair a rotator cuff tear if other treatments don’t relieve the pain. We’ll discuss your surgical options and help you choose the best one.

We usually can use arthroscopy, a minimally invasive procedure to repair the tendons and remove any inflamed tissue or bone that may be causing irritation. Some large rotator cuff tears may require open surgery to correct.

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