What is the Rotator Cuff Tear Recovery Time?

What is the Rotator Cuff Tear Recovery Time?

Rotator cuff tears are a common shoulder issue, sometimes requiring surgery to fix them. While a full recovery can take several months after surgery, patients usually begin physical therapy within four to six weeks. This helps to build up strength in the shoulder, while also preventing the joint from stiffening up.

Most patients regain full strength and function within four to six months. However, actual recovery time will depend upon the severity of the tear and the treatment used to correct it. Your surgeon will provide a recovery timeline, alongside advice you can follow to speed it up.

Discover more about rotator cuff tears and what to expect from the recovery process below including what is the rotator cuff tear recovery time?

What to expect from rotator cuff tear recovery

If you have surgery for a rotator cuff tear, the procedure will either be carried out as a day case which means you return home the same day as surgery or with one overnight stay in hospital. Your arm will be put into a sling to keep it immobilised. Surgery is normally performed under a general anaesthetic augmented with regional/local anaesthetic so your arm will feel numb immediately after surgery. Once the local anaesthetic wears off, you will experience some pain and then discomfort for at least a few days, and likely a few weeks. Pain relief medication can be prescribed to help manage the level of pain while the shoulder heals.

Patients are advised to place ice on the shoulder as an additional pain relief measure. This will also help to control any swelling that may occur. Sleeping may be difficult so you might want to change to lying in a semi-upright position.

Rotator cuff repair is usually performed as an arthroscopic procedure which is a type of keyhole surgery. The incisions will be very small and heal within just a couple of weeks. If the procedure is performed as open surgery, the stitches will either be dissolvable or removed at two weeks.

After a few weeks you’ll be able to reduce the amount of time that you need to wear the sling and you’ll be able to start light physiotherapy. At your check-up with your London shoulder specialist Mr Andy Richards, they will be able to advise when you can begin strengthening exercises.

Rotator cuff tear treatments

Your recovery will be determined by a variety of factors such as the severity of the tear, and whether any complications arose during or after treatment. There are a variety of treatment options available and not all of them include surgery.

If the rotator cuff tear is minor, you may require physical therapy and pain relief medication. This alone could help you make a speedy recovery.

To find out what to expect from your rotator cuff tear recovery, book a consultation with one of Mr Andy Richards or one of our other shoulder specialists today.

How Do I Know If I Have Damaged My Rotator Cuff?

How Do I Know If I Have Damaged My Rotator Cuff?

Rotator cuff injuries are one of the most common causes of shoulder pain. A recent study in the Shoulder & Elbow Journal indicated that the rotator cuff is implicated as a cause of shoulder pain in approximately 70% of patients.

So, what is rotator cuff damage and how can you tell if you have damaged yours? Find out everything you need to know below.

Symptoms of rotator cuff damage

The rotator cuff is a group of tendons and muscles that cushion and stabilise the shoulder joint. They help to keep the upper arm bone connected to the shoulder. There are several ways these tendons and muscles can become damaged. Whether it is through repetitive movements, or trauma to the joint, a damaged rotator cuff will present the following symptoms:

  • Difficulty raising your arm over your head or behind your back
  • A dull ache that stems from deep in the shoulder
  • Weakness in the arm
  • Sleep disturbances

The pain felt from rotator cuff damage may vary, but it mostly presents as a dull ache rather than a sharp pain. Issues with mobility, such as not being able to move the arm behind your back, are also a potential sign that damage to the rotator cuff has occurred.

While weakness in the arm is a common symptom, it typically develops over time. If you have injured the shoulder and the arm is immediately weakened, you should seek advice from a doctor as soon as possible.

What causes rotator cuff damage?

There are a lot of potential causes of rotator cuff damage. It could be you suffer a direct injury to the shoulder, or the tendon tissue may simply have worn down over time. Establishing the cause is important before treatment can begin.

Although anybody can suffer rotator cuff damage, some people are more at risk than others. The main risk factors include:

  • Older age: Rotator cuff injuries mostly occur in those aged over 60. The older you become, the higher the risk of rotator cuff damage.
  • Certain occupations: Damage to the rotator cuff can occur over time due to repetitive movements of the shoulder joint. This means those in certain occupations, such as construction, are at an increased risk.
  • Genetics: There is some evidence to suggest that rotator cuff damage has a genetic link. Rotator cuff injuries can be more prevalent in certain families.

Treating a damaged rotator cuff

Even if the rotator cuff damage is minimal, it is still important to seek treatment as early as possible. If it is left untreated, the damage could worsen, potentially leading to issues such as permanent weakness in the arm.

There are a variety of treatments available covering both surgical and non-surgical options. The treatment you need to undergo will depend upon the severity of the problem and the degree of function you’re hoping to achieve.

To determine if you are suffering from rotator cuff damage, book a consultation with one of our expert shoulder surgeons today. After diagnosing the issue, a treatment plan will be suggested based upon the type of damage that has occurred.

first signs of frozen shoulder

What Are the First Signs of Frozen Shoulder?

If you are suffering with shoulder pain, it might be one of the first signs of Frozen Shoulder. This common condition affects mobility of the arm, while also causing pain and inflammation.

Like all shoulder conditions, Frozen Shoulder presents specific symptoms that patients can look out for. So, what are the first signs of Frozen Shoulder and what exactly is it? Learn everything you need to know below.

What are the early signs of Frozen Shoulder?

Frozen Shoulder is a condition that worsens gradually over time. This means it is easy to miss the early warning signs that something is wrong. If the condition is to be treated as early as possible, it is important to be aware of the early signs to look out for. So, what are they?

The early signs of Frozen Shoulder include:

  • A dull pain or aching in the shoulder
  • Stiffness in the shoulder
  • Trouble sleeping due to pain in the shoulder
  • Pain when you try and move the shoulder

Initially, you may notice there is a slight ache or dull pain in the outer area of the shoulder. Occasionally this pain is also felt in the upper arm. Stiffness in the shoulder is also common, though in the early stages it will be more of a mild stiffness.

You may also start to notice it is more painful at night. This can lead to sleep disturbances, as well as increased pain when you try and lie on the affected side. Again, in the early stages the pain will mostly be on the mild side.

What are the advanced signs of Frozen Shoulder?

There are three different stages of Frozen Shoulder, and each presents its own set of symptoms. We’ve discussed the early signs you should look out for, but what about the more advanced stages?

Advanced symptoms of Frozen Shoulder include:

  • Increased pain
  • Inability to move the arm
  • It is impacting your daily life

As Frozen Shoulder worsens, the pain begins to intensify. The stiffness within the joint will also increase, making it very difficult to move the arm. If the pain and stiffness are impacting your daily life, it could be a sign of Frozen Shoulder.

Is Frozen Shoulder treatable?

Frozen Shoulder is also referred to as Adhesive Capsulitis. It is a common condition that eventually results in extreme stiffness of the joint. However, whilst most people find that it gets better, the whole process from start to finish can take 18 months to three years. Treatment is largely non-operative and can include physiotherapy and injections before surgery needs to be considered. It is important to confirm the diagnosis with appropriate investigations.

The cause of Frozen Shoulder isn’t known, though women between the ages of 40 and 60 are most at risk. It is more common in diabetic patients and there may be a hormonal association.

There are many different causes of shoulder pain and stiffness. Book a consultation now to discover if Frozen Shoulder is the cause of your shoulder issues.

rotator cuff repair study

London Shoulder Specialist publishes rotator cuff repair study

London Shoulder Specialist Mr Ali Narvani has co-authored a study on rotator cuff repair. Titled ‘Clinical and Radiological Outcomes of Rotator Cuff Repairs Using All-Suture Anchors as Medial Row Anchors’, the research paper was recently published in The Archives of Bone and Joint Surgery.

The aim of the study was to report the clinical and radiological outcomes of double-row transosseous equivalent rotator cuff repairs, where all-suture anchors were used as medial-row anchors, with a minimum follow-up of one year.

Twenty-two consecutive patients were assessed using the Oxford Shoulder Score, Constant Score and Visual Analogue Scale pain score, together with shoulder range of motion. These were used preoperatively and then at three- and six-month check-ups and at the final follow-up.

Radiological evaluation was performed with MRI at one year after the operation to assess the structural integrity of the repair. Healing failure in the 22 patients was less than 5% and there were significant improvements in shoulder function, range of motion and the pain score.

The conclusion drawn by the study’s authors was that it was safe to use all-suture anchors as medial-row anchors when performing double-row anchor transosseous equivalent rotator cuff repairs, outweighing their perceived disadvantages in rotator cuff repair.

swimmers shoulder treatment

Preventing and Fixing Swimmer’s Shoulder

Swimming is one of the best forms of exercises you can do. Helping to strengthen the muscles and work out every part of the body, it can be great for your overall health. However, if you are a competitive swimmer, there are a few risks to be aware of such as Swimmer’s shoulder.

Swimmer’s shoulder can cause anything from mild inconvenience to intense pain. So, what is it and can you prevent this painful condition?

What is swimmer’s shoulder?

Swimmer’s shoulder is diagnosed when the tendons of the joint become inflamed and swollen. It is commonly caused by overuse of the shoulder when swimming. As the tendons become swollen and inflamed, they can press on nearby tendons, muscles, and bones. This is also referred to as shoulder impingement.

A type of shoulder tendonitis, swimmer’s shoulder can lead to more serious problems if it is left untreated. While professional swimmers are most at risk of developing the condition, impingement of the shoulder is something that can happen to anyone who overuses the joint.

The main symptoms to look out for with this condition include:

  • Pain in the shoulder
  • Difficulty when reaching overhead
  • Swelling at the top or the front of the shoulder
  • Pain felt when placing weight onto the arm

You will find the symptoms worsen during or after swimming. If you are diagnosed with swimmer’s shoulder, there are some great treatment options available.

Treatment options available

The main goal of swimmer’s shoulder is to manage the inflammation and pain within the joint. Some of the most common treatment options include rest, physiotherapy, medicine, injections, and exercise.

In severe cases, surgery may be required. This involves an arthroscopic procedure known as subacromial decompression. Any bone spurs and inflamed tissue is removed, freeing up space within the joint. It takes around eight weeks for most patients to get back to swimming after the procedure.

In most cases, swimmer’s shoulder can be cleared up without surgery. Anti-inflammatory medications and injections can be provided to ease pain and swelling. Physiotherapy can also help to improve motion within the shoulder, as well as build-up strength in the joint.

The right treatment for you will be determined during your consultation with a shoulder specialist.

Can you prevent swimmer’s shoulder?

While there are some excellent treatments available to treat swimmer’s shoulder, it is a better option to prevent it in the first place. If you are a keen swimmer, you can follow these prevention tips:

  • Make sure you are using the proper form and technique
  • Carry out shoulder strengthening and opening exercises
  • Don’t overwork the shoulder, give it plenty of rest between training

If you suspect you have swimmer’s shoulder, book a consultation with one of our shoulder experts today. The earlier you seek treatment, the faster you can get back in the pool.

Rotator cuff surgery

Can a Torn Rotator Cuff Heal Without Surgery?

If you have a torn rotator cuff, you might be wondering what your treatment options are. Nobody wants to undergo surgery unnecessarily. However, can a torn rotator cuff heal without it?

Here, you’ll discover more about rotator cuff tears and the treatment options available.

What is a rotator cuff tear?

There are four tendons and muscles that are responsible for stabilising the shoulder. A rotator cuff tear is diagnosed when one of them rips or tears. If the muscles become damaged or frayed, it is considered a partial tear. However, if the tendon comes away from the bone or it tears all the way through, it is considered a complete tear.

Most tears are caused over time through wear and tear. They can also be caused by a fall or injury and are more prevalent in athletes. If it is caused by wear and tear, it will be referred to as a degenerative tear.

Symptoms of a torn rotator cuff

The symptoms of a torn rotator cuff will vary depending upon whether you suffered a sudden or gradual tear. The most common symptoms include:

  • Pain when moving the arm upwards or downwards
  • Increased pain when the shoulder is resting, particularly at night
  • Weakness within the arm
  • A cracking sensation when the shoulder is moved in specific ways

If the tear occurs suddenly due to an injury, you will likely experience intense pain and a snapping sensation. If it occurs gradually, you will notice weakness and pain in the arm worsening over time.

Rarely, a rotator cuff tear doesn’t cause the patient any pain. However, weakness within the arm and other symptoms will be present.

Will you need rotator cuff surgery?

Not all patients require rotator cuff surgery to correct a tear. However, there is a possibility the tear could worsen over time. If the tear is small to medium in size, non-surgical treatments may be advised to see if they can rectify the issue.

It is thought that around 80% of patients experience relief from their symptoms with non-surgical treatments. These include rest, physical therapy, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication, and steroid injections. Sometimes certain activities may also need to be avoided.

While non-surgical methods can help some patients return to daily activities, they don’t always prevent the need for surgery. If your symptoms don’t improve or the tear worsens, you will need to undergo a surgical repair.

Another factor in your decision to undergo surgery is the level of activity you are hoping to return to. Older patients that have suffered a degenerative tear may be satisfied with the improvement in pain and mobility delivered by non-surgical treatments. Younger patients hoping to return to play at their previous level may opt for surgical repair followed by a rehabilitation programme. In a study published in the Arthroscopy, Sports Medicine, and Rehabilitation journal earlier this year, researchers from Dublin found that after arthroscopic rotator cuff repair, athletes aged 30 years or younger show excellent functional outcomes with high rates of patient satisfaction and return to play after the procedure.

In rotator cuff surgery, the tendons are typically re-attached to the upper arm bone. There are several techniques that can be carried out to make the repair. The surgeon will determine the best method to use during your consultation.

If you have been diagnosed with a rotator cuff tear, book a consultation to discuss your treatment options today.

Diabetes and frozen shoulder

Everything You Need to Know About Diabetes and Frozen Shoulder

November marks World Diabetes Awareness month, so we thought it was an ideal time to raise awareness of frozen shoulder. This painful condition can arise as a complication of Diabetes.

Known to cause issues with mobility, frozen shoulder is a condition that often worsens before it gets better. However, there are ways to manage it to limit pain and stiffness. Here, you’ll discover everything you need to know about Diabetes and frozen shoulder.

What is frozen shoulder?

Frozen shoulder is a condition in which the shoulder becomes progressively more stiff and painful. It typically lasts for months, and sometimes years, impacting your ability to carry out daily activities.

Also referred to as Adhesive Capsulitis, it develops when the ligaments of the shoulder joint become swollen and stiff. As the tissue becomes inflamed, it can cause issues with healing. A frozen shoulder usually gets better over time without treatment, but recovery is often slow and can take at least 18 to 24 months.

How are Diabetes and frozen shoulder linked?

While frozen shoulder can impact anyone, mainly affecting people aged between 40 and 60 and women more often than men, those with diabetes are known to be twice at risk of developing the condition. Research has shown that it is likely a result of how it impacts collagen formation within the shoulder.

It is thought that high blood sugars form advanced glycosylation end products (AGEs). The AGEs latch onto tendons and ligaments, limiting movement in the shoulder. Combined with impaired blood circulation also due to high blood sugar levels, the shoulder stiffens up and becomes inflamed. If Diabetes isn’t controlled, it can lead to a whole host of skeletal and muscular problems.

What treatment options are available?

Treatments for frozen shoulder are designed to minimise the pain and help to restore movement by stretching the shoulder capsule. It is rare to need surgery to treat the condition, though it may be recommended when nothing else is working.

Most patients find that the condition clears up within a year. The most common treatment options include:

  • Physical therapy
  • Steroid injections
  • Shoulder manipulation
  • Joint distension

Physical therapy tends to be the most common and effective option. A trained physician will help to improve range of motion in the shoulder using targeted exercises. Steroid injections and joint distension techniques are effective at helping to control the pain.

When might I need surgery for frozen shoulder?

If your frozen shoulder isn’t improving through non-surgical methods, surgery may be recommended. This involves removing the scar tissue, alongside adhesions from within the joint of the shoulder. Small incisions are made around the joint using an arthroscopic method before the affected tissue is removed.

To find out which treatment option is right for you, book a consultation with one of our shoulder specialists today. You will be advised whether surgery is suitable, or whether non-surgical methods are your best option.

shoulder instability and osteoarthritis

Study Finds Early Surgical Intervention in Shoulder Instability May Prevent Osteoarthritis

A new study has found that when shoulder instability is treated early, it may prevent osteoarthritis. The results were presented at the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons 2021 meeting. It also suggests that older adults are at an increased risk of developing arthritis within the shoulder. Here, we will look at what the study found and how shoulder instability and osteoarthritis are linked.

What did the study find?

The study, carried out by the Mayo Clinic, is the largest one to assess anterior shoulder instability in the US population. It included 154 patients taken from a regional database. They had a follow-up for an average of 15.2 years.

It was revealed that 22.7% of patients in the study went on to develop arthritis symptoms in the shoulder when they didn’t have shoulder stabilisation surgery. Univariate analysis was carried out, revealing that those who did have symptoms of arthritis were more likely to be current or ex-smokers. Manual labourers and older adults were also identified to be at a higher risk.

What is shoulder instability?

Shoulder instability is diagnosed when the ligaments, labrum, or capsule of the joint are torn, detached, or stretched. There are different types of shoulder instability including:

  • Shoulder dislocation – the head of the humerus dislocates from the joint
  • Labral tear – the labrum is peeled off or torn away from the glenoid

Some people are naturally more prone to shoulder instability due to their genetics. The shoulder ligaments are naturally looser, increasing the risk of dislocation.

Pain and a feeling of the shoulder giving in are common symptoms of shoulder instability. If a dislocation has occurred, you may also feel and hear the joint popping out of place. Bruising, swelling, and poor joint mobility are also common symptoms to watch out for.

How are shoulder instability and osteoarthritis linked?

Known as post-traumatic osteoarthritis or PTOA, it has been estimated that over 40% of individuals that sustain an injury to the ligament or meniscus will go on to develop PTOA and the trauma caused by repeated shoulder dislocations results in damage to the shoulder joint that makes patients more susceptible to arthritis.

Treating shoulder instability

Shoulder instability can vary in severity. The type of instability you are experiencing, alongside its severity, will determine the best course of treatment.

For minor dislocations and instability, keeping the arm in a sling and undergoing physiotherapy may be the best option. However, for more severe cases, surgery may be required. You can speak to the surgeon about your likelihood of developing osteoarthritis and the preventative measures you can take.

Book a consultation with the London Shoulder Specialists today to discuss your shoulder instability treatment options.

shoulder pain management

What’s the Best Pain Relief if You’re Suffering from Shoulder Pain?

Shoulder pain is a common problem that can strike at any age. Linked to a wide range of conditions and injuries, it can significantly disrupt your daily life. Living in constant pain can be debilitating. However, help is available. While you are awaiting treatment for the source of the pain, you can use several shoulder pain management methods to help you cope.

Here, you’ll discover some of the best pain relief methods you can try when you are suffering from shoulder pain.

Painkillers

Pain killers are one of the most effective ways to treat shoulder pain. Depending upon the severity of the pain you are experiencing, there are different types of painkillers you can try.

If your pain level is mild, you should find over the counter painkillers are effective.

Paracetamol is typically recommended over Ibuprofen. This is because it will not interact or interfere with any existing medications. However, if the pain is caused by inflammation in the shoulder joint, Ibuprofen will typically be the better option.

Be advised that if you are taking paracetamol, they will need to be used up to four times a day to be effective. Ibuprofen should only be used for a period of two weeks, followed by a break. This is because, over time, they can lead to kidney damage when used consistently.

Always speak to your doctor before taking any pain medications. This will ensure they are safe to take with any existing medications you are on. If the pain is moderate to severe, you can also request prescription painkillers. These are much stronger and will need to be taken exactly as instructed.

Heat or cold therapy

You can also relieve shoulder pain with heat or cold therapy. If your pain stems from inflammation, cold therapy is the better option. However, if the pain is linked to muscle spasms, you will find heat therapy the more effective choice.

An ice pack can be used for cold therapy, and it is best used to treat conditions such as Bursitis or Frozen Shoulder. A hot water bottle or warm compress can be used to relax tense muscles, allowing for better mobility of the joint if muscle spasms occur.

Non-surgical management

Surgery isn’t always required to eliminate shoulder pain. Some conditions can benefit from non-surgical management such as physiotherapy.

Physiotherapy can help to ease pain, as well as boost mobility. It helps by strengthening up the shoulder joint, improving posture, and loosening tight tissue. This type of treatment may be used in conjunction with steroid injections.

Surgical methods

In some cases, non-surgical methods may not eliminate the shoulder pain completely. Instead, you may need either open or arthroscopic surgery to treat the underlying cause. A capsular release procedure may be required for Frozen Shoulder, while a rotator cuff repair will help repair damaged tendons.

To discover the optimal shoulder pain management approach, book a consultation with the London Shoulder Specialists today. After assessing the condition, a customised treatment plan will be recommended to help you eliminate the pain for good.

Glenoid Bone Loss

Treatment Options for Glenoid Bone Loss in the Shoulder

Glenoid bone loss is common in those who suffer from anterior instability of the shoulder. The bone loss occurs in the shoulder socket, leading to issues with recurrent dislocations. Each dislocation can result in further bone loss.

If you have been diagnosed with glenoid bone loss in the shoulder, you may be wondering what your treatment options are. Read on to discover everything you need to know about glenoid bone loss and its treatment options.

What is Glenoid bone loss in the shoulder?

Glenoid bone loss is typically caused when the shoulder dislocates. It is a common issue, found in around 40% of those who have suffered a single dislocation. In those who have experienced recurring dislocations, 85% have signs of Glenoid bone loss. This shows that frequent dislocations increase the risk of further bone loss.

Most of the time, it is thought to be caused by compression fractures that occur at the time of dislocation. When bone loss occurs, the humeral head can’t be supported in the socket. This increases the risk it will dislocate again. It is a nasty cycle that will continue unless treatment is sought.

How is the condition diagnosed?

Glenoid bone loss can be diagnosed and measured using CT, radiographs, or MRI scans. The preferred method is a CT scan due to its ease and accuracy.

In early cases, the CT scan will show the rim of the anterior Glenoid has straightened. The amount of bone loss can be measured by comparing the maximum width on the normal side to that on the affected side.

If a dislocation has occurred, an MRI scan will be used to diagnose Glenoid bone loss, rather than a CT scan.

What are your treatment options?

If you are diagnosed with Glenoid bone loss, there are treatment options available. These include arthroscopic soft tissue stabilisation and bony restoration.

Surgery does tend to be the most effective treatment option. When performed correctly, it can prevent future dislocations and fully restore shoulder function. There are pros and cons to each surgical option available. For this reason, you should run through your options with a shoulder specialist to see which is better suited to you.

Non-surgical treatments are available if surgery is determined to be too high of a risk. A rehabilitation plan will be created in a bid to improve the range of motion. Strengthening up the muscles and tendons around the shoulder can also help to prevent future dislocations.

If you suspect you have Glenoid bone loss in the shoulder, book a consultation with one of our leading surgeons today. Without treatment, the condition could continue to worsen until the shoulder can no longer stay in its socket. This makes it crucial to seek treatment sooner rather than later.