4 Signs It Might Be Time to Consider Rotator Cuff Repair

A rotator cuff injury can make it very difficult to go about your everyday tasks. It can impact your job, prevent you from enjoying your free time, and leave you with daily pain. If you have suffered a rotator cuff injury, you may not be able to just wait it out or rely on non-surgical treatments. In some cases, the injury is severe enough to require surgery.

Woman athlete has shoulder pain due to rotator cuff injury

San Francisco orthopedic doctor James Chen, MD, can help. He performs minimally invasive surgical treatments to help patients get shoulder mobility once again. Using the latest arthroscopic techniques, he offers quality care with a shorter recovery period.

If you notice any of these four signs, it may be time to consider rotator cuff repair.

1. Pain When Lifting Your Arm Above Your Head

An acute rotator cuff injury happens suddenly, often when you have a fall or lift something incorrectly. It causes immediate, intense pain.

But with a rotator cuff injury that develops over time, the pain may appear gradually. This pain may be mild, and you may only experience it when lifting your arm above your head.

At first, you may only feel a dull ache around the outside tip of your shoulder. You may be able to manage the pain with over-the-counter medications during the beginning stages, but as time passes, the pain will get worse.

If you continue to use your arm despite the pain, you can cause further damage. Rotator cuff injuries can worsen with time. Experiencing chronic pain is not normal, so reach out to Dr. Chen, an experienced San Francisco shoulder doctor. Getting help as soon as possible can prevent the symptoms from worsening.

2. Weakness and Difficulty Raising or Rotating Your Arm

Both a partial and complete rotator cuff tear can make it difficult to raise your arm. Some of the most common injuries to the rotator cuff are those that affect the supraspinatus muscle. These injuries cause problems with raising your arm to the side or over your head.

3. Clicking or Popping Sound

Renowned San Francisco orthopedic surgeon James Chen, MD, explains that some clicking or popping sounds are normal even for people with healthy shoulders. They can occur if there is air in the joint, like when you crack your knuckles. These sounds also tend to occur more often when you get older.

If you feel pain or warmth in your shoulder when it clicks or pops, however, this can be a sign that you need expert care. Don’t wait until the pain gets worse.

4. Tenderness in Specific Parts of the Arm

A rotator cuff injury can cause swelling and tenderness in the front of the shoulder. This swelling can press on nerves and cause an aching sensation that over-the-counter painkillers cannot resolve.

As time passes, you may also experience pain when you lie down. The pain might be intense enough to wake you from sleep. If you don’t get prompt treatment, the pain can become more severe and extend over your entire shoulder.

Advanced, Patient-Centered Treatments for Rotator Cuff Injuries

You don’t have to live with the pain from a rotator cuff injury. When you turn to San Francisco shoulder doctor James Chen, MD, you can get the quality care you need to start healing. Dr. Chen relies on state-of-the-art facilities and the latest minimally invasive techniques to help you get the results you need without going through a riskier surgical procedure.

He will perform a full assessment of the injury, measuring your shoulder’s range of motion, its strength, and other factors. He will also check that the pain is not coming from any other area, like a pinched nerve in your neck.

With stellar patient testimonials and a dedication to providing personalized treatment plans that fit your exact needs, Dr. Chen knows how to help you manage a rotator cuff injury, whether that means rest, rehab, or rotator cuff repair surgery.

Don’t battle shoulder or arm pain any longer when help is available. Contact James Chen, MD, in San Francisco, CA, to schedule a consultation.


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