Rotator Cuff Tear in St. Louis, MO. A rotator cuff tear not only keep you from the things you love, but can make day-to-day life debilitating. Our St. Louis, MO team of physical and occupational therapists at Axes Physical Therapy caters each treatment plan specifically to each client, their injury, and their desired activity level. Fill out our online form or schedule an appointment today to get started on your road to recovery.
All of our physical therapy clinics in St. Louis and throughout Missouri are owned and operated by physical therapists who have dedicated themselves to helping people feel pain-free again. Our substantial clinical expertise, proven practices, and background as motion experts equip us to successfully guide you in heal your rotator cuff injury. Start working with a devoted physical therapist at Axes Physical Therapy today. Contact us now or discover more about the location most convenient for you.
A rotator cuff tear can either be acute — meaning it happens as the result of an injury, such as falling or lifting a heavy object — or can happen gradually because of overuse. More than two million people each year in the United States suffer a rotator cuff tear. If you have experienced a rotator cuff tear and want to get back to the activities and sports you love or are just looking for lasting and meaningful pain relief, make an appointment with Axes Physical Therapy today. Our St. Louis, MO physical therapy team will have you high-fiving and lifting your arms again sooner than you thought possible.
The Rotator Cuff | Axes Physical Therapy St. Louis, MO
The rotator cuff is a set of 4 tendons and muscles that maintains the stability and function between your humerus (upper arm bone) and shoulder. Besides helping prevent shoulder dislocations, the rotator cuff helps you lift and rotate your arm. For any physical endeavor necessitating usage of your arm, the rotator cuff muscles function in concert with other larger muscles in the shoulder and scapular area to raise or move the upper limb. It’s the teamwork between the rotator cuff and the larger, more powerful muscles, along with the bone anatomy of the shoulder, that empowers the large amount of movement in the shoulder. The 4 tendons and muscles in the rotator cuff are:
- The supraspinatus is a relatively small muscle that holds in place the head of your humerus and permits you to raise your arm.
- The infraspinatus is a thick triangular muscle on the back of the shoulder allows you to rotate and extend your arm.
- The teres minor is a slender muscle that works alongside the infraspinatus to extend your arm away from your body and hold the arm in place during rotation.
- The subscapularis is a triangle-shaped muscle that is the biggest of the rotator cuff muscles. It helps you rotate your shoulder towards your body, as well as straighten and move your arm downward.
The rotator cuff is key in nearly every kind of shoulder movement. A healthy rotator cuff requires balanced strength and control in order to have optimal range of motion. If you have sustained a rotator cuff tear or any other injury, come see the St. Louis, MO occupational and physical therapists at Axes for a free injury screening, so we can design an evidence-based plan to return you to to the activities you love.
Common Rotator Cuff Injuries
Rotator cuff injuries are either caused by acute trauma or chronic degeneration. Trauma can take place when you lift a heavy object or overstretch your arm. Degeneration happens due to overuse or customary weakening of the muscles and tendons as you age. No matter what sort of pain or injury you are feeling in your shoulder, the St. Louis, MO rotator cuff experts at Axes physical are here to shepherd you as you recover.
There are three main types of rotator cuff injuries:
- Rotator cuff tears occur because of trauma or can be more chronic in nature. The most common tear is a partial tear, which damages a tendon, while a full-thickness tear completely separates a tendon from the bone. They can the result of trauma, such as falling, but most rotator cuff tears are from overuse or repetitive day-to-day movements over time like swimming. The tendon is initially frayed before becoming torn. Often, people with partial tears do not know they have them. A small injury can frequently reveal a chronic, partial thickness rotator cuff tear.
- Rotator cuff tendinopathy (tendinitis or tendinosis), is swelling, irritation or degeneration of one of the tendons attaching muscle to the bone. Patients typically feel pain in the area surrounding the joint. Teninopathy regularly happens to overhead athletes or those who work with their arms overhead. The irritation is often because of weakness or incorrect technique.
- Impingement is caused by a tendon rubbing on a shoulder blade. Typically the result of overhead activities. Impingement syndrome can later lead to chronic rotator cuff irritation and partial tearing.
All three conditions can be treated effectively with conservative treatment such as physical therapy. While some complete and partial tears of the rotator cuff may need surgery, a course of individualized physical therapy with an experienced physical therapist can assuage symptoms and better function significantly. Our St. Louis, MO team of physical and occupational therapists will build a personalized plan for your rotator cuff tear recovery so that you can get back to owning your local pick-up basketball league, painting your walls, or conducting necessary everyday activities like brushing your teeth pain-free.
Rotator Cuff Tear | Axes Physical Therapy St. Louis, MO
Rotator Cuff Tear Causes and Risk Factors
The two types of rotator cuff tears are:
- Acute Tears — This kind of rotator cuff tear takes place when you suffer trauma. Maybe you tried to lift something you shoulder could not support. They can also be caused by other structural damage, such as a broken collarbone or dislocated shoulder.
- Degenerative Tears — These are also known as chronic rotator cuff tears. Some common risk factors are:
- Repetitive Activities — Repeating the same shoulder motions over time can cause tendons to fray and tear. This can take place when you play a sport or engage in an activity frequently—like baseball, swimming, or weight lifting — or when your job requires you to perform a certain motion repetitively.
- Lack of Blood Supply — Proper blood flow ensures that minor injuries heal properly. When blood flow is restricted, irritation can gradually turn into a tear. The rotator cuff is well known for its poor blood supply.
- Bone Spurs — The acromion, the bony tip on the outer edge of your shoulder blade, is prone to overgrowth . Bone spurs can lead to impingement, which in turn leads to rotator cuff tears.
Aging is the best-known risk factor for a rotator cuff tear; the majority of rotator cuff tears are the result of the standard wear and tear our bodies are subjected to over time, and are most common in people over the age of 40. Younger people with rotator cuff tears frequently develop them through acute trauma. St. Louis, MO residents who work in certain occupations, play certain sports, or repeatedly lift heavy things or consistently move their arms overhead are also at higher risk.
Rotator Cuff Tear Symptoms
You may not always feel a rotator cuff tear, especially if it develops slowly over time. Acute tears normally cause instant pain, but other times the symptoms are more difficult to note. Signs you might have a rotator cuff tear include:
- Difficulty lifting your arm
- Pain or soreness with specific shoulder movements
- Pain at night or when resting, particularly if you’re lying on the affected shoulder
- Weakness in your shoulder
- Clicking, grating, or popping sensations, especially when associated with specific motions
- Inability to lift things you can normally lift
If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s vital that you call a medical professional such as the St. Louis, MO physical and occupational therapists at Axes Physical Therapy. We will work in concert with your physician to come up with a game plan that will safely and successfully get you back to the activities you love. Going to any of our locations for a free injury screening is a simple, cost-effective method to have your shoulder examined. Early examination and treatment can help prevent a frozen shoulder – which is painful and can take up to three years to wholly recover from – or arthritis, which will have to be managed for the rest of your life. We have the knowledge and skill to return you safely back to what you do and love best, whether it’s lifting your grandkids over your head or swimming 400 meters.
Treatments for a Rotator Cuff Tear
If you have been diagnosed with a rotator cuff tear, you may be wondering what the most successful means of treatment is in St. Louis, MO. Usually, rest, icing, and physical therapy treatment methods such as stretching and strengthening exercises will be enough to help manage the symptoms, let your rotator cuff heal properly by itself, and eventually get you back to the activities you love. You may also be given anti-inflammatory medicine or injections to help reduce pain. Fortunately, surgery is only recommended in rotator cuff tears with full-thickness tears or if the tear refuses to heal with more conservative care. The professional physical therapists at Axes Physical Therapy know how to analyze your condition and implement the best treatment method for you. We will work alongside you to develop an evidence-based, tailored plan to get you back to what you love doing, pain-free and without the limitations of a rotator cuff tear.
We treat a wide variety of conditions and complaints and have a team of specialists ready to help you. Some of our other services are:
Receive Treatment for Your Rotator Cuff Tear Today | Axes Physical Therapy St. Louis, MO
Whether your rotator cuff tear occured because of an injury or of wear and tear over time, you won’t be able to entirely enjoy your life as you should until you get treatment from expert and compassionate physical and occupational therapists who can safely and effectively guide you as you heal. Each rotator cuff tear is different, and at Axes Physical Therapy we create a customized plan for you based on evidence and your individual needs. As your physical therapist, we work hard to help you recover your movement health and help you recover from your rotator cuff tear, and we can’t wait to see you once again able to high-five your clinical team on your way out. Contact us today by selecting the location closest to you or get a free injury screening to take the first step in getting back to the activities you love.