Rotator Cuff Injury and Frozen Shoulder

Patient

Q: I fell on an extended arm and now have a small rotator cuff tear,I also have a frozen shoulder. I injured my shoulder Oct. 31. I am still in therapy and have had a cortizone shot. My doctor said he didn't want to operate with my shoulder being frozen. He said to see how I'm doing after Jan. 6. He may do surgery then. I am wondering if I should see another doctor and see if I can have surgery to repair my shoulder sooner. I have been out of work and will not return until at least Jan. 6. I drive for a living and it is my right arm that I have injured. I am 48 years old and cant afford to keep missing work.

Doctor

A:   Rotator cuff injuries do not always require surgery. A trial of conservative management is often beneficial and helps to avoid surgery. If it is indeed a small tear as you have described, then physical therapy along with corticosteroid injections are the correct course of treatment at this time. Should this for of therapy not work then surgery is the next step. A frozen shoulder is treated in much the same way with aggressive physical therapy and corticosteroid injections. While I understand your need to get back to work I urge you to be a little more patient while undergoing therapy. When you are re-examined by your Orthopedic surgeon on Jan 6 a decision can be made as to the best step forward.

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