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Rotator Cuff Injury: Test, Treatment, Healing Time at Rolling Hills Medical, Torrance, CA

One of the most common injuries that people might sustain while playing sports is a rotator cuff injury. Rotator cuff injuries can lead to severe shoulder pain. The rotator cuff is a set of several muscles that help to move the arm in an overhand motion. Sports that involve repetitive loading and unloading of the arm in an overhead fashion, such as swimming, baseball, handball, and lacrosse, are prone to causing rotator cuff injuries. Some of these injuries could lead to a prolonged recovery time. Therefore, it is important for everyone to understand the basics of how a rotator cuff injury is diagnosed and treated.

Diagnosing a Rotator Cuff Injury: Tests

If someone has suffered a rotator cuff injury, the doctor is going to start by asking about the symptoms. Some of the signs that people might notice include:

  • A dull ache in the shoulder
  • Trouble sleeping on the affected shoulder
  • Difficulty raising the arm overhead such as putting on a t-shirt or brushing the hair

If someone presents with these symptoms, the doctor might be worried about a rotator cuff injury. Next, the doctor will test the strength of the rotator cuff muscles. The doctor might ask the individual to try to raise their arm at different angles against resistance. This rotator cuff injury test helps the doctor test the strength of the rotator cuff muscles. If there is a noticeable difference in the strength of the two arms after the rotator cuff injury test, the doctor may diagnose the individual with a rotator cuff injury.

In some cases, the doctor might also use imaging procedures, such as an MRI, to get a better look at the muscles themselves. In severe cases where there is a profound weakness of the rotator cuff, the doctor may elect to go with one treatment over the other.

Treating a Rotator Cuff Injury

Patient talking to the doctor about rotator cuff shoulder injury.

The treatment of an injured rotator cuff will depend on the severity of the injury. Those who have rotator cuff tendinitis or a similar injury will need to rest their shoulder for several weeks. Ice, heat, and pain medication is also used to reduce inflammation. In some situations, people might also need physical therapy to help them strengthen their rotator cuff and prevent future injuries. Those who have persistent pain might also benefit from steroid injections directly into the shoulder space to try and reduce the inflammation.

Those who have been diagnosed with a complete tear of the rotator cuff may need surgery to repair the injured muscles. This is often recommended only after physical therapy, pain medications, and injections have failed. Following this surgical procedure, individuals will still need physical therapy to strengthen their new rotator cuff to the point that it can be used in competitive sports.

Rotator Cuff Injury Healing Time

The healing time for a rotator cuff injury is going to depend on the severity of the injury. While some simple cases of tendinitis might heal in a few weeks, other severe rotator cuff injuries could take six months or more to heal. The goal of the treatment of any rotator cuff injury is to strengthen the shoulder to the point that it can be used pain-free once again.

Help with Shoulder Pain Treatment in Torrance

Shoulder pain treatment in Torrance can be found here at Rolling Hills Medical. Shoulder pain is a common reason why people seek the help of a sports medicine professional. Located conveniently in nearby Torrance, CA, we at Rolling Hills Medical are here to serve the local community for all of their sports-related medical needs. Helping families from Los Angeles to Orange County and everywhere in between, we have the training and expertise to handle all types of sports injuries. Therefore, if you or a loved one needs rotator cuff injury treatment in Torrance, call us today at 424-250-8699 to schedule an appointment. We would be glad to help you with your recovery process.

Dr. Neil Ghodadra
Dr. Neil Ghodadra’s orthopedic practice focuses on minimally invasive, arthroscopic surgery of the knee, shoulder, elbow, and hip. His unique background includes extensive training and expertise in cartilage restoration of the knee and joint preserving osteotomy, as well as treatment of complex shoulder conditions, ranging from shoulder instability and rotator cuff repair surgery to shoulder replacement surgery. Dr. Ghodadra is fellowship trained in Shoulder and Sports Medicine Surgery and has a particular interest in taking care of athletes.

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