Rotator Cuff Tear

Eggleston Orthopedics

Steven D. Eggleston , M.D.

Orthopedic Surgeon located in Lake Jackson, TX

Rotator cuff tears are a common source of shoulder pain, whether they’re caused by sports activities or wear-and-tear that occurs during everyday life. Dr. Steven D. Eggleston of Eggleston Orthopedics has years of experience treating rotator cuff injuries, providing the full range of services from conservative care and rehabilitation to expert rotator cuff surgery. When you develop shoulder pain, call the office in Lake Jackson, Texas, or book an appointment online.

Rotator Cuff Tear Q & A

What is the rotator cuff?

Although it sounds like one structure, the rotator cuff includes a group of four muscles and their associated tendons. These structures hold the upper arm in the shoulder socket and provide movement, such as lifting and rotating the arm. The rotator cuff is also responsible for shoulder strength and stability.

What causes a rotator cuff tear?

When your rotator cuff tears, the damage occurs in one of the tendons that attach to your upper arm. This type of injury may be caused by:

Acute injury

You may tear a rotator cuff tendon by falling on your arm or suddenly lifting a heavy object. The rotator cuff can also tear when you suffer another shoulder injury, such as a dislocated shoulder.

Degenerative tears

Degenerative tears develop gradually due to the stress that occurs when you frequently repeat the same movements. These tears are often caused by sports activities or jobs that require overhead motion.

You can develop bone spurs that rub against a tendon, and as you get older, blood supply to the rotator cuff diminishes. Both problems can weaken and eventually tear rotator cuff tendons.

What symptoms develop due to a rotator cuff tear?

When your tear is the result of an acute injury, the pain is usually intense, and you may experience immediate arm weakness.

Symptoms of degenerative tears develop gradually, causing problems such as:

  • Pain while resting or sleeping
  • Pain when moving your arm, especially lifting and lowering your arm
  • Weakness when lifting or rotating your arm
  • Crackling sensation when moving your shoulder

Without treatment, rotator cuff tears progressively worsen, causing increasing pain and arm weakness.

How are rotator cuff tears treated?

Dr. Eggleston determines the best treatment based on the severity of the tear. Conservative treatment options include rest, activity modification, physical therapy, and steroid joint injections to reduce inflammation and pain.

If your symptoms persist despite conservative therapies, you have an extensive tear, or you depend on shoulder strength to participate in sports or perform your job, Dr. Eggleston may recommend rotator cuff surgery to repair the tendon.

Whenever possible, Dr. Eggleston repairs the tendon using minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery, which uses a few small incisions. With this technique, you have less pain and your recovery is quicker.

When you develop shoulder pain or notice arm weakness, call Eggleston Orthopedics or use the online booking feature to schedule an appointment.