The shoulder has the most mobility of any joint in the body. Even small injuries can result in significant loss of use of the shoulder. One of the most common injuries to the shoulder is the Rotator Cuff. The Rotator Cuff consists of 4 separate muscles and can be injured by overuse, repetitive smaller injuries, or a single larger injury. Most injuries will result in either weakness, stiffness, or instability of the joint. Because of the significant number of muscles around the joint, rehabilitation plays an extremely important role in getting back in the game. When surgery is needed to heal injury, minimally invasive techniques are utilized to reduce the length of disability and allow a faster return to activities.

AC Joint Injury (the separated shoulder)

The acromioclavicular (AC) joint is the meeting point of the acromion and clavicle bones in the shoulder area, often indicated with a visible bump in the area. AC joint injuries often occur as a result of a fall or other trauma, which may cause the acromion to move or separate from the clavicle, or cause the ligaments to be stretched or torn.

While conservative treatment is often used first for AC joint injuries, surgery may be required for injuries that are more severe or those that cause prolonged pain.

Labral Tear

A labrum is a protective cuff of cartilage found in ball and socket joints like the hip and shoulder. They provide more stability, cushioning and a full range of motion for these shallow joints. A tear in the labrum, known as a labral tear or Bankart tear, is caused by injury or overuse and can lead to pain and “catching” of the joint while moving. A dislocation of the shoulder is a common cause of labral tears and can result in the shoulder feeling unstable or sliding out of joint.

Treating a Shoulder Dislocation

After a shoulder dislocation, physical therapy is commonly used to help restore motion, reduce pain and regain strength. The labrum has a very poor ability to heal on its own. Labral repair surgery, or Arthroscopic Bankart Repair, aims to repair unstable shoulders with arthroscopic surgery.

What is a rotator cuff?

The rotator cuff is the thick band of muscles and tendons that covers the top of the upper arm and holds in its place, providing stability and a full range of motion to the shoulder joint. It is made of four muscles and their associated tendons. These tendons can become partially or completely torn as a result of a rotator cuff tear. A rotator cuff tear most often occurs as a result of overuse of the muscles over a long period of time. As a result, this condition is most common in patients over the age of 40. It may also occur as a result of a traumatic injury, and involves pain when lifting or lowering their arm, muscle weakness, and atrophy.

Rotator Cuff Repair

Many rotator cuff tears can be treated through nonsurgical methods that focus on relieving pain and restoring function to the shoulder. These may include:

  • Rest
  • Use of a sling
  • Anti-inflammatory medication
  • Steroid injections
  • Physical therapy

Surgery may be recommended for tears that cause severe pain or that do not respond to more conservative treatments. The type of surgery performed depends on the size and location of the tear, but often involves trimming torn edges or suturing the tendon back together.

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To learn more or to schedule a consultation contact us today at (508) 363-6363. Our practice proudly serves Worcester, MA, and surrounding areas.

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Biceps Strain Or Something More?

Pain in your biceps makes it challenging to go about your life. Persistent discomfort can leave you wondering if there is a deeper issue. If you’re wondering if the pain in your biceps is something to worry about, here are a few things to look for as you prepare for a trip to the doctor.

Characteristics of a Bicep Strain

A bicep strain can present itself in several ways, and all may come with varying degrees of pain. Bicep strains typically start in the upper arm, close to the shoulder, and often accompany a popping sound. The pain can be sudden and intense and described as a “burst of pain.”

Other signs of a bicep strain include

  • Weakness in the shoulder
  • Inability to rotate the arm
  • Bruising

Risk Factors for Bicep Strains

Activities or sports with repetitive arm motions, such as baseball, football, or tennis, can increase your risk of straining a bicep. 

Poor circulation, previous injuries, and lack of stretching before activities can also put you at risk.

Bicep Strain Treatment and Recovery

After an exam, your doctor can help determine a treatment plan to address your symptoms. Common treatments for bicep strains include rest, ice, anti-inflammatory pain medications, or steroid injections. 

Most bicep strain cases resolve after two weeks, and you may be relegated to modified activity levels as you recover.

Is My Bicep Torn?

A bicep tear works slightly differently than a strain as the injury is more severe. A torn bicep can occur from lifting heavy objects, overuse, repetitive motions, or previous injury. 

Many patients can recognize a torn bicep from a tearing sensation in the arm at the time of the injury.

Bicep Tear Diagnosis and Treatment

Your doctor can determine if you have torn your biceps through a physical exam and tests such as an MRI. 

Conservative methods, including rest, ice, and physical therapy, can help. Extensive injuries to the bicep may require surgery to correct the issue. 

Your recovery depends on your injury’s nature and how well your body responds to treatment methods. If you’ve sustained an injury to your arm, don’t wait. Dr. Desio can help you get back to living your life to the fullest. Call 508-363-6363 to schedule an appointment in the Worcester office.