Rotator Cuff Tendinopathy Treatment
While the breakdown of collagen can’t be reversed, the progression and symptoms of the condition can be managed through a combination of modalities.
Before treatment, you need an orthopedic doctor to diagnose the condition. Your doctor would begin by checking for one or more of these symptoms –
• dull or gradually increasing pain that worsens on lifting your shoulders, lifting objects, reaching behind your back, sleeping on your side
• pain is accompanied by a creaking feeling or a clicking sound upon rotation or raising your arm
• stiffness or loss of range of motion
• tenderness or swelling
Your orthopedic physician will conduct a physical exam and review diagnostic tests to determine the cause of your symptoms.
Most physicians will begin with conservative, non-surgical treatments for mild to moderate tendinopathy. The purpose of non-surgical treatment is to reduce inflammation, relieve pain and improve range of motion.
Non-surgical treatment options include –
• Stopping or modifying activities that worsen the trauma in the damaged rotator cuff
• Applying ice packs to the shoulder to reduce inflammation and swelling.
• Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication like ibuprofen to reduce swelling and pain. Prescription NSAIDs may be given.
• Bracing or taping may help to protect the injury while it heals.
• Physical therapy and exercises can strengthen the muscles around the shoulder to support the rotator cuff. Physical therapy may improve postural issues too. An exercise routine would be designed to improve range of motion and make the shoulder stronger.
• Steroids injections into the affected tendon may ease rotator cuff pain and inflammation.
Surgery may be recommended for severe tears and if your symptoms do not improve with non-invasive treatments even after 3-6 months.
If you’re referred to an orthopedic surgeon, s/he may use minimally invasive surgery or arthroscopy to repair the shoulder.
Arthroscopy involves making small incisions to insert a camera and fine surgical instruments into the shoulder joint. Inside the joint, the surgeon can examine issues that are difficult to identify on imaging tests. For example, shoulder impingement may need decompression surgery to remove impediments and allow the tendon to glide smoothly without friction.
Patients, who need surgery for tendinopathy, usually have a rotator cuff tear. Once the tear is repaired, the patient undergoes rehabilitation and the patients can usually return to normal activities.
To learn more about orthopedic treatments, call one of the best knees and shoulder orthopedic surgeons in Phoenix AZ, call Phoenix Shoulder and Knee at 480-219-3342. Dr. Adam Farber is a Fellowship Trained, Board Certified Phoenix and Scottsdale orthopedic surgeon specializing in Sports Medicine.
Phoenix Shoulder & Knee
1215 W Rio Salado Parkway
Tempe, AZ 85281
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