House Call: Rotator Cuff Injuries – Prevention & Treatment

Shoulder pain is extremely common, with more than 7.5 million Americans visiting doctor’s offices each year because of it.

A rotator cuff tear is a common cause of shoulder pain and disability. The rotator cuff is made up of the muscles and tendons in your shoulder, and is responsible for keeping the arm in the shoulder socket.

It is extremely important to keep the rotator cuff in good health, as it supports the joint with the greatest range of motion within the body.

More: Orthopedic Injury Statistics Sheet

Rotator cuff problems or injuries often occur when our day-to-day activities exceed the strength of the rotator cuff muscles. Symptoms of a rotator cuff inflammation or tear is pain at night, at rest or when reaching overhead, weakness, and a crunching and/or popping sensation when moving the joint.

Fortunately, there are steps we can take to avoid rotator cuff injuries, such as engaging in regular shoulder strengthening exercises.  Individuals with bursitis, a condition that puts you at greater risk of rotator cuff injury, should avoid excessive overhead reaching or positions that irritate the rotator cuff.

In the past, individuals with torn rotator cuffs had very few treatment options, and often had to live with the debilitating condition. Now, the great news is that people who have severe joint problems do not have to suffer through the pain and debilitation.  When conservative treatment methods, such as anti-inflammatory medications and cortisone injections, are no longer helping, there are surgical options. Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive, outpatient procedure in which orthopedic surgeons can examine and repair the joint and/or muscle damage. Reverse shoulder replacement has also offered a successful treatment option for individuals with severe rotator cuff injuries.

Cone Health Orthopedic Center of Excellence has an exceptional network of highly-trained orthopedic specialists and related healthcare professionals who are dedicated to treating patients with orthopedic injuries and joint disease throughout the community.

Spokesperson Background:

Dr. Kevin Supple is an orthopaedic surgeon at Greensboro Orthopaedics and a member of the Cone Health Medical Staff.  Dr. Supple earned his M.D. at University of Southern California School of Medicine. He served his general surgery internship and his orthopaedic surgery residency at the Jackson Memorial Medical Center of the University of Miami.  Dr. Supple’s specialization is arthroscopic and reconstructive surgery of the shoulder and knee, and total shoulder and reverse shoulder replacements. He is the first physician in Guilford County to receive the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery Subspecialty Certificate in Orthopaedic Sports Medicine.

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