Blake A. Nonweiler, M.D., Board-Certified Orthopedic Surgeon
Comprehensive Orthopedic Care.

Rotator Cuff Tear Treatment in Bend, Oregon

Blake A. Nonweiler, M.D. Specializes in the Treatment of Rotator Cuff Tears

Dr. Nonweiler is a fellowship-trained orthopaedic surgeon with offices in Bend, Redmond & Prineville, Oregon. Dr. Nonweiler also services the surrounding Central Oregon community, including Madras, La Pine, Burns and John Day.

As a rule of thumb, non-operative procedures are always preferred. Dr. Nonweiler will only recommend surgery to correct a rotator cuff tear if conservative approaches like physical therapy don't alleviate pain.

Causes of Rotator Cuff Tear

The tendons attaching to the rotator cuff can tear due to excessive force or a strong pull. Rotator cuff tears can cause serious pain and restricted range of motion in the arm, as well as deltoid weakness.

Causes of rotator cuff tears include traumatic impact or simple wear-and-tear. Typically the most commonly torn tendon is the supraspinatus, which connects to the shoulder blade.

Rotator cuff tears are one of the most common injuries seen in sports medicine, and usually affect athletes performing repetitive motions (baseball pitching, volleyball or tennis serving, etc.). Falling forward and catching one's self with arms outstretched is one example of how an accident can cause a rotator cuff tear.

Symptoms of a Rotator Cuff Tear

Signs that you may have experienced a rotator cuff tear include:
  • Shoulder muscle weakness
  • Pain when raising or lowering the arm
  • Popping or cracking feeling when extending the shoulder
  • Pain in the shoulder waking up

Onset of symptoms may be immediate in the case of a traumatic injury or may be gradual in the case of natural wear-and-tear. Symptoms can develop with repetitive overhead activity, and pain in the front of the shoulder will present itself. This pain may radiate down the rest of the arm.

Diagnosing Rotator Cuff Tears

At The Center in Bend, Oregon, Dr. Blake A. Nonweiler will perform a series of strength tests to determine which muscle group in the shoulder is damaged. An x-ray will be performed to ensure that bones aren't broken. An MRI scan will confirm the presence of a rotator cuff tear and help Dr. Nonweiler determine the appropriate solution.

Non-surgical Options for Rotator Cuff Injuries

Nonsurgical options for rotator cuff tears include physical therapy, corticosteroid injections and activity modification.
  • Physical Therapy involves resting the shoulder and abstaining from motions that initially caused the rotator cuff tear. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) are administered to patients to relieve inflammation and swelling, helping improve range of motion and makes stretching once again possible.
  • Corticosteroid treatment with therapeutic injections can help reduce pain in the rotator cuff region, and is usually indicated after conservative treatment (activity modification, physical therapy) has failed to relieve shoulder pain.

Rotator Cuff Surgery

Not all rotator cuff tears will require surgery. Surgery should be considered only after non-operative treatments have not sufficiently relieved pain after six months of treatment. Arthroscopic surgery is a minimally invasive technique that works well for shoulder surgery. Arthroscopic shoulder surgery allows less disruption of the deltoid muscle and allows the glenohumeral joint to be examined through arthroscopic means. In arthroscopic surgery, your surgeon will make a small incision to insert a fiber-optic camera and another small incision to insert operating tools. Because of increased visibility of the glenoid, arthroscopic shoulder surgery is often the best method of operating on a torn rotator cuff.