There are three causes of rotator cuff tears: trauma, extrinsic compression and intrinsic degeneration. As one gets older, the condition of tendons and the amount of blood supplied to them decreases, thus the tendons are vulnerable to injury, that is known as intrinsic degeneration. The extrinsic compression is a combination of anatomy and lifetime wear and tear. As one elevates the arm, the acromion bone rubs the rotator cuff causing wear of the muscles. With years of repeated rubbing, the muscle and its tendon eventually tear. It should be noted that while there is a considerable number of people in the elderly community with torn rotator cuffs, the majority of these people show no symptoms. The most common symptoms are lack of mobility, weakness and pain in the shoulder, especially with overhead movements. This pain the patient experiences is usually described as dull, but then the pain is exacerbated when people reach arms overhead. In essence, the larger the tear, the poorer the function.
In Georgia, a person may recover for a pre-existing injury that prior to the motor vehicle collision or fall was not symptomatic. In other words, if a person has a rotator cuff tear with no symptoms from wear and tear over the years, but is then in a traumatic accident, such as a car accident or fall at the grocery store, and post-accident are experiencing pain and symptoms or their condition has been made worse, than they may be able to recover damages under Georgia law. It is important to consult with an experienced litigation attorney that specializes in Personal Injury Law before trying to handle a personal injury claim on your own or just assuming you would not have a case because of a pre-existing condition. Sarah Cornejo Law has helped clients with rotator cuff tears get the compensation they deserve despite pre-existing or degenerative conditions being present in the joint.
In order to properly diagnose these injuries, a physician will perform orthopedic tests as well as diagnostic imaging such as X-ray, MRI and/or ultrasound. The initial treatments for rotator cuff tears are usually conservative, as long as the tear is not severe. These treatments include: rest, anti-inflammatory medications, steroid injections or physical therapy. Corticosteroid injections are administered in the shoulder joint to relieve pain and decrease inflammation. These corticosteroid injections often provide patients with temporary relief; however, if used too frequently, the shots can have the adverse effect of tendon weakening. As a result, later use of surgery as an option can be less successful on the tendons. Physical therapy will restore your range of motion, muscle strength, and coordination, so that you can return to your regular activities. In some cases, you may learn to modify your physical activity so that you put less stress on your shoulder.
Surgery is recommended if conservative treatment fails or if there is a severe tear (more than 3mm). Surgery is also recommended in most tears that occur as a result of trauma. There are a few options for repairing rotator cuff tears, including less invasive procedures.
The type of repair performed depends on several factors such as the size of your tear, your anatomy, and the quality of the tendon tissue and bone. The most commonly used techniques for rotator cuff repair include arthroscopic repair, open tendon repair and tendon transfer. With arthroscopy repair procedure, the surgeon inserts a camera and instruments through a small incision. The procedure is used to affix the bone with the damaged tendon. If the tear is large and complex, the surgeon may make an incision over the shoulder and detaches one of the shoulder muscles to better see and gain access to the torn tendon. When the torn tendon is extremely damaged the surgeon may decide to affix a nearby tendon, rather than the torn one.
Depending on the type of procedure the surgeon uses on a patient, the recovery from surgery will vary. Another factor that causes variation in recovery time are the general health of the patient. Studies have shown recovery times to be four to six months post-surgery, especially when considering more strenuous workouts such and weight lifting and regular participation in sports teams. A full return may not occur between nine to twelve months after surgery. Rehabilitation plays a vital role in getting you back to your daily activities. A physical therapy program will help you regain shoulder strength and motion. There are three phases of recovery: immobilization, passive exercises and active exercises. Each and every phase is important to recover and return to any activity, sport or occupation. Don’t forget to seek professional help if you had a trauma in the shoulder or if you have any symptom associated with rotator cuff tear since it can deteriorate over the time and may require surgery when maybe was not necessary at the first place.