What is the treatment for a rotator cuff injury or tendinitis?
Mild rotator cuff injuries and tendinitis are often successfully resolved with conservative treatments. A sling might be applied for immobilization of the shoulder joint to eliminate overhead movements and decrease inflammation of the rotator cuff tendons. A combination of rest, ice, and anti-inflammatory medications are also recommended. When the pain and inflammation have diminished, completion of a physical rehabilitation program is oftentimes recommended for strengthening the muscles and tendons of the rotator cuff.
In more severe rotator cuff injuries, or if conservative therapy is unsuccessful, Dr. Williams may recommend a shoulder arthroscopy (minimally invasive surgical procedure) to treat the rotator cuff. Any irregularities, such as bone spurs or tears, are removed and repaired with specialized surgical instruments. Decompression of the subacromial space should eliminate further irritation of the rotator cuff tendons against the acromion (roof of the shoulder). This minimally invasive approach uses a few small incisions around the shoulder; this limited approach allows patients to return to their normal activities in a shorter period of time. Slings are used briefly (5-7 days); and physical therapy is typically needed for about 6-8 weeks.