What Are the Treatments for Rotator Cuff Injuries?


Quick Answer

Rotator cuff injury treatments range from a conservative regimen of rest, ice and therapy to pain medications and surgery, depending on the severity of the injury. In extreme cases, a shoulder replacement may be the best treatment, as stated by Mayo Clinic.

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Full Answer

Simply resting the shoulder, undergoing physical therapy and applying ice packs comprise all the therapy that many rotator cuff injuries need. If those do not alleviate the pain, the doctor likely suggests a steroid injection into the joint, particularly if the discomfort keeps the patient from sleeping, exercising or performing daily activities. These shots can weaken the tendon, so they should be limited, reports Mayo Clinic.

Physical therapy consists of a series of exercises to give the shoulder its strength and flexibility back after a rotator cuff injury. Surgical options begin with bone spur removal. If bone growths are inflaming the rotator cuff, this procedure removes the bone and smooths the damaged area of the tendon, often using arthroscopy instead of open surgery, according to Mayo Clinic.

Another surgical option is tendon replacement or repair. Frequently, the doctor can repair a torn rotator cuff tendon and reattach it to the bone of the upper arm. If the tendon damage is too severe, surgeons sometimes use another tendon nearby to replace it. In the case of total rotator cuff injuries such as those connected with degenerative joint disease, shoulder replacement can be necessary, states Mayo Clinic.

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