Rotator cuff tear--surgery recovery

Patient

Q: Hi: I had a MRI on right shoulder which is attached and showed rotator cuff tear of 1cmx1.5cm of supraspinatus tendon - attached is MRI. No other problems with muscles or other tendons. I am most concerned about the recovery since I know my arm will be in a sling for about one month and how it will effect my ability to type or drive to work. How bad is this, and what is recovery like?

Doctor

A:    There are several causes of arm-shoulder pain; one of the most common is the Rotator Cuff tendinitis, tear and/or Impingement and this seems to correspond with the description that you made of your pain. The rotator cuff is a group of tendons that support the shoulder. These tendons can be injured during weight lifting, when playing sports with a lot of throwing, after repetitive use over a long time or suffer degenerative changes with the aging process. Typically, the pain worsens at night, a dull ache in the upper outer arm and shoulder, it results from mechanical impingement of the rotator cuff tendon beneath the antero inferior portion of the acromion (one of the bones of the shoulder joint), causing changes in the distal part of the rotator cuff tendon, which is at risk due to poor blood supply. The rehab post-surgery involves: physical therapy to control pain and keep range of motion of the shoulder, avoidance of painful movements and activities; anti-inflammatory meds (i.e.: “Advil”, “Aleve”). You have to be patient and consistent with the rehab program so you experience the expected good outcome.

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