Rotator Cuff Tear Specialist

Ronald Hess, MS, DO

Orthopedic Surgeon & Sports Medicine Specialist located in West Chester, OH

Rotator cuff tears can happen to anyone over time or in an instant; you’re at especially high risk if your occupation or sport of choice involves repeated overhead arm movement. At Beacon Orthopedics & Sports Medicine, with three locations throughout Oxford and West Chester, Ohio, orthopedic surgeon Ronald Hess, MS, DO, and his team work with athletes and laborers alike to repair rotator cuffs and restore shoulder function. If you have symptoms of a rotator cuff tear, call Beacon Orthopedics & Sports Medicine or schedule an appointment online today.

Rotator Cuff Tear Q & A

What is a rotator cuff?

The rotator cuff is the group of muscles and tendons in your shoulder that controls most of the joint’s movement. They’re responsible for holding the ball part of your shoulder joint, the head of the humerus, in place in the socket of your shoulder blade. 

Between your rotator cuff and the bone at the top of your shoulder is a sac called a bursa that helps the joint move smoothly. If you injure your rotator cuff, you might have damaged the bursa at the same time. 

What is a rotator cuff tear?

A rotator cuff tear is a rip or tear in any of the muscles or tendons of your rotator cuff. Some rotator cuff tears happen slowly with time, starting with a small fray and building up to become more painful. Others are acute injuries that happen very suddenly.

Partial tears are muscle tears within the rotator cuff that did not sever the whole muscle or tendon. Full-thickness tears, on the other hand, completely detach one of the tendons from the head of the humerus bone. 

Rotator cuff tears come with shoulder pain or aching as well as shoulder weakness. Since the shoulder has the broadest range of motion of all of your joints, you’ll notice a significant difference in its mobility if you have a rotator cuff tear of any kind. 

How do rotator cuff tears happen?

Rotator cuff tears can result from an acute injury or progressive degeneration. Acute shoulder injuries happen with lifting objects that are too heavy or falling on outstretched arms. 

Degenerative tears occur due to aging, but circumstances like poor circulation, bone spurs, and repeated movements can accelerate their development. 

When making a diagnosis, the Beacon Orthopedics & Sports Medicine team looks for other injuries that may have caused the rotator cuff tear or happened simultaneously, like shoulder dislocations. 

How are rotator cuffs treated?

Rotator cuff tears usually respond well to more conservative treatments, but Dr. Hess can perform minimally invasive orthopedic surgery to repair the tear if you need it. Conservative treatments for rotator cuff tears include:

  • Heat and ice therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Activity modification
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers
  • Steroid injections

Dr. Hess may recommend surgery to you if you’ve tried these steps without much relief, have pain that has lasted for 6-12 months, or if the tear is large. 

During arthroscopic rotator cuff repair, Dr. Hess uses a small lighted camera on a tube to navigate the shoulder joint through small incisions called portals. Using a nearby real-time image of the inner shoulder on a monitor, he manipulates small surgical tools to make the repair. 

Dr. Hess uses research-backed techniques like dual-row fixation with sutures or augmentation with a graft to strengthen the weak tendons.

To schedule a rotator cuff tear evaluation, all Beacon Orthopedics & Sports Medicine or schedule an appointment online today.