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Rotator Cuff Specialist

Joe Cooper, MD

Orthopedics & Sports Medicine located in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, CA & Brentwood, CA

A rotator cuff injury can lead to severe shoulder impairment and pain, eventually disrupting your life in a major way. If you’re among the 2 million Americans who have rotator cuff injuries, you need an orthopedic specialist like Joe Cooper, MD. Dr. Cooper is a fellowship-trained physician who possesses the expertise and skills to help you recover and return to your activities safely. There are two Los Angeles, California-area offices, in Beverly Hills and Brentwood, so call the office nearest you or book an appointment online anytime.

Rotator Cuff Q & A

What is a rotator cuff injury?

The rotator cuff is the group of muscles and tendons that keep your shoulder joint in the socket. Your rotator cuff allows you to lift and rotate your arm. However, damage within these muscles and tendons can have serious consequences.

Rotator cuff tears are the most common kind of rotator cuff injury. Tears can be partial, in which a tendon is partly detached from the bone, and complete, in which the tendon is fully detached from the bone.

If a rotator cuff tear isn't treated, it can grow larger over time. Eventually, a partial tear could tear completely. An untreated rotator cuff tear could lead to severe shoulder joint instability and complete shoulder dysfunction.

What are the symptoms of a rotator cuff injury?

Rotator cuff injuries can cause symptoms in your shoulder, such as:

  • Pain
  • Dull ache
  • Weakness
  • Cracking feeling when making certain movements

When you have a rotator cuff injury, raising or rotating your arm can be very difficult. You may struggle with simple movements like washing your hair, cooking, and cleaning. Many people with rotator cuff injuries have difficulty sleeping as well. 

What causes rotator cuff injuries?

Rotator cuff injuries occur in two main ways: with overuse or age-related degenerative wear-and-tear.

Many athletes, particularly throwing athletes like quarterbacks and pitchers, experience rotator cuff injuries at some point during their careers. A fall or other type of accident can also cause a rotator cuff injury. 

But, rotator cuff injuries are also very common in inactive adults, with the risk increasing after age 40. If members of your immediate family experience rotator cuff injuries, you're more likely to do so yourself. 

How are rotator cuff injuries treated?

Dr. Cooper treats rotator cuff injuries on a case-by-case basis. He discusses your particular injury, your lifestyle, and your recovery goals with you in detail to determine the ideal treatment plan for your situation. 

A partial degenerative rotator cuff tear may respond to rest, anti-inflammatory medication, physical therapy, and corticosteroid injections. 

A complete rotator cuff tear may require surgery. Dr. Cooper frequently performs shoulder arthroscopy, a minimally invasive procedure to visualize and repair a rotator cuff tear. He can also treat other problems, such as shoulder impingement, at the same time. 

Dr. Cooper specializes in complex rotator cuff repair cases and also handles revision rotator cuff surgeries. He uses advanced methods like biologics to successfully treat severe rotator cuff damage. Biologics can improve the tendon-to-bone healing rates for difficult-to-heal tears. 

Around 4% of people with rotator cuff tears also have arthritis in their shoulder joint. This condition, rotator cuff arthropathy, usually requires a reverse shoulder replacement.

To learn more about your options for rotator cuff repair, call Joe Cooper, MD, or book an appointment online now.