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Working With An Orthopedist

A few years ago, I decided to take up running. I was bad at it at first, but after a few months, I got more comfortable. Unfortunately, right when I got good at running, I developed a bad pain in my left foot. At first, I decided to push past the pain, but it quickly became excruciating. I realized that it might be a good idea to talk with a doctor about my problem, and so I met with an orthopedist. He carefully watched my gait as I ran, and he decided to take some images to check out my bone health. It turned out that I had developed a stress fracture, and my doctor recommended surgery. This blog is all about ways that an orthopedist can help you, so that you can enjoy your hobbies.

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Understanding Rotator Cuff Injuries: 3 Things To Know

by Jessie Hawkins

Shoulder pain is something that most adults will experience at least once during their life. For some, it may occur after participating in a strenuous sport event or while engaging in an extensive household project, like gardening or landscaping.

Shoulder pain can also be a sign of a more serious injury, such as damage to the rotator cuff. If you are wondering whether your shoulder pain is a minor issue that will resolve with time and rest, or whether you may have incurred a much more serious injury, here are three things you should know.

Who is most at risk of rotator cuff injuries? 

The rotator cuff is located at the top of the upper arm bone, or humerus. The cuff is formed from four tendons that come together from the muscles around the shoulder blade, or scapula region, of the shoulder. 

People who regularly perform motions that cause wear on this cuff of tendons are most at risk of experiencing a tear or excessive wear that results in severe pain. Construction workers, painters, and professional athletes are particularly at risk for this type of injury. Other factors that can also increase risk for a rotator cuff injury include both age and genetic predisposition. 

When should you suspect a rotator cuff injury? 

Knowing the difference between a simple shoulder strain and a rotator cuff injury will help you seek the treatment you need more quickly and help you heal faster. Shoulder pain that wakes you from sleep or makes it difficult to perform routine tasks like dressing or grooming are often associated with a rotator cuff injury, especially if the discomfort continues for more than a day or two or progressively worsens. Additionally, if weakness in the arm is noted, a rotator cuff injury should be suspected. 

Why is speedy treatment necessary? 

Those who are experiencing shoulder pain may feel that time will improve the situation. However, when a shoulder cuff injury occurs, the shoulder joint may be at serious risk suffering degeneration. This can happen when you avoid or cannot use the full range of movement in the shoulder over an extended time, causing the joint to freeze up and the supportive muscles and tendons to experience detrimental changes. You may need rotator cuff surgery to fix the damage.

A good rule of thumb for anyone who has experienced a shoulder injury is to always see their family doctor as quickly as possible for an evaluation. If a rotator cuff injury is found, your doctor can refer you to an orthopedist who can offer you care options that may include surgery, phyical therapy, and strength training. 

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