What Is Rotator Cuff Impingement and Do You Need Surgery for It?

Shoulder Pain​

The rotator cuff is a very important group of muscles and tendons that holds your shoulder joint together and provides your arm with a wide range of motion. Pain and injury in the rotator cuff can limit the use of your shoulder and the rest of your arm.

A common condition that causes pain in the rotator cuff is rotator cuff impingement. It affects nearly 20% of all adults and is more likely to occur as you grow older.

Rotator cuff impingement is more commonly known as a pinched shoulder. This is due to the way the pain feels as well as how the condition takes place in the rotator cuff. A rotator cuff impinges when the tendon swells due to overuse or an injury and gets pinched in the bony portion of the joint. This is painful and limits blood flow to your tendon, which can lead to it tearing.

Repairing rotator cuff impingement with orthopedic surgery

Surgery is usually not the first option doctors consider for rotator cuff impingement. Some rest, medication, and physical therapy may be enough to reduce the swelling in your tendons. However, if the impingement is too severe and starting to develop into a tear, or if you’ve suffered from it for months with no relief from conservative treatments, surgery may be the right option.

Orthopedic surgeons usually perform minimally subacromial decompression (SAD) surgery to repair an impinged rotator cuff. This procedure is done using an arthroscopic camera, which means surgeons can gain a visual of the operation area without making large incisions for a direct view.

The goal of SAD is to remove excessive swollen tissue and any bone spurs that may have developed. Full recovery from SAD can take a few months, but your pain should be minimal compared to how your shoulder felt before the operation. Most patients are able to return home the same day after the procedure.

Visit the iRISE Spine and Joint Institute for rotator cuff impingement surgery

Do you have a pinching feeling in your shoulder accompanied by a limited range of motion? If conservative treatments aren’t helping you find relief, you should talk to an orthopedic surgeon. Contact us today to talk to our team about rotator cuff impingement surgery or to schedule an initial appointment.

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