When does a Rotator Cuff Injury Require Surgery?

Your rotator cuff has the important job of keeping your upper arm bone fastened into the socket of the shoulder. This complex tangle of muscles and tendons provides you with incredible range of motion, so you can use your arms to throw and lift. But this great mobility also comes with risk of injury. 

Athletes, construction workers, and anyone who lifts heavy objects are most at risk to injure their rotator cuffs, while age is also a contributing factor. Many people successfully recover from rotator cuff injury using conservative treatments, such as physical therapy, medication, and rest. But for others, surgical intervention is necessary. 

How do you know you need surgery? Board-certified orthopedic surgeon Timothy C. Wilson, MD, at his practice in Lexington, Kentucky, is here to help you understand the answer.

Conservative treatments aren’t enough

Physical therapy, cortisone injections, home exercises, and other nonsurgical therapies are often sufficient in treating a rotator cuff injury. But, if these interventions don’t alleviate your pain or help restore adequate function within a few months, you may need surgery.

Your work is interrupted

You may need surgery if the injury gets in the way of your daily life, especially with work. 

When your rotator cuff is injured, you may have trouble lifting, reaching, and pulling. Athletes, landscapers, and painters are just a few of the people who will have their work impaired by a rotator cuff injury. If you find you can’t do your daily work tasks without experiencing pain, talk to Dr. Wilson about surgery as a way to restore function.

Daily tasks are difficult

Pain from a rotator cuff injury often interferes with your basic day-to-day routines, such as cleaning the house, getting dressed, and grabbing things from a high shelf. If the pain from your rotator cuff injury is constant and not relieved by nonsurgical treatments, especially steroid injections, you may be a candidate for rotator cuff surgery. 

You have a serious tear

Rotator cuff injuries vary in degree and severity. Some patients have smaller tears that respond quickly to physical therapy and other treatments. If Dr. Wilson observes that your rotator cuff is significant, you may need surgical intervention to prevent long-term or even irreparable damage to the tendons and muscles in your rotator cuff.

The primary goal at the practice of Timothy C. Wilson, MD, is to help restore function without pain in your shoulder or other injured joints. You can trust Dr. Wilso with all your orthopedic issues. If you need conservative or surgical treatment for your rotator cuff or want to explore your options, call our Lexington, Kentucky, office at (859) 287-1159 or book online for a consultation. 

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