Rotator Cuff Tear

Sports Medicine Specialist, Orthopedic Surgeon & OrthoBiologics located in Wilmington, NC

Rotator Cuff Tear

Rotator Cuff Tear services offered in Wilmington, NC

Pain and weakness when lifting your arm often signal a rotator cuff tear. At Carolina Joint and Arthritis, board-certified orthopedic surgeon Austin Yeargan III, MD, provides comprehensive care with special expertise in nonsurgical treatments that effectively heal the tissues, relieve your pain, and restore optimal strength and mobility. If you have questions about your symptoms or need to schedule an appointment, call the office in Wilmington, North Carolina, or use the online booking feature today.

Rotator Cuff Tear Q & A

What causes a rotator cuff tear?

Your rotator cuff comprises four muscles that hold your upper arm bone (humerus) in the shoulder joint and move your arm. The muscles are anchored in your shoulder blade, and their tendons connect to the upper arm, essentially forming a cuff over the top of your shoulder.

The rotator cuff has the challenging job of stabilizing the joint while supporting the full range of motion, making it susceptible to tears.

The top causes of rotator cuff tears include:

  • Using everyday repetitive arm movements
  • Developing age-related degeneration and weakness
  • Suffering a traumatic accident
  • Engaging in activities requiring overhead movements

Activities with overhead movements include sports like baseball and tennis and jobs like painting or carpentry.

What symptoms will a rotator cuff tear cause?

Rotator cuff tears cause symptoms such as:

  • Arm and shoulder pain
  • Arm and shoulder weakness
  • Pain when lifting and lowering your arm
  • Difficulty using your arm
  • Pain when pressure is placed on the shoulder (like laying on your side)
  • Crackling or popping when using your shoulder

A traumatic injury causes sudden, immediate pain, while your symptoms are mild at first and gradually worsen when repetitive use or aging causes the tear.

How are rotator cuff tears diagnosed?

Dr. Yeargan assesses your arm strength, range of movement, and the location of your pain, but he often needs to see inside the joint to diagnose the problem. You won’t need to wait for CT scans, X-rays, or MRIs because he uses a real-time diagnostic device called the mi-eye 2®.

The mi-eye 2 is a hand-held, needle-like scope that Dr. Yeargan inserts into the shoulder joint. A camera in the scope sends images to a high-definition tablet, allowing him to closely examine the tissues, identify the tear, and determine the best treatment.

How are rotator cuff tears treated?

Your rotator cuff treatment depends on your symptoms and the severity of the tear. However, your care plan may include:

  • Limiting your activities
  • Immobilizing the shoulder
  • Taking anti-inflammatory medicines
  • Getting a steroid injection
  • Engaging in physical therapy
  • Innovative orthobiologics
  • Undergoing Tenex Health TX treatment

Rotator cuff tears usually affect the tendons. A minimally invasive Tenex treatment can ease your pain by eliminating the damaged tendon tissues and promoting healing as long as it's only a partial tear.

Call Carolina Joint and Arthritis or book an appointment online for effective, nonsurgical care for a rotator cuff tear.