Rotator Cuff Specialist

Colorado Sports Medicine & Orthopaedics

Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine Physician located in Cherry Creek, Denver, CO

More than two million Americans have rotator cuff problems each year. If you struggle with shoulder pain, you can trust the experts at Colorado Sports Medicine and Orthopaedics (COSMO) in Denver, Colorado, to provide exceptional care. Fellowship-trained orthopaedic surgeons Catherine Logan, MD, MBA, MSPT, Jared White, DO, and their highly trained team can diagnose and treat rotator cuff tears to help your shoulder heal as quickly as possible. Call the office to schedule an appointment or request one online today.

Rotator Cuff Q & A

What is a rotator cuff tear?

Your rotator cuff includes several muscles that support and stabilize your shoulder joint. Rotator cuff tears can occur gradually over time or abruptly during a traumatic injury. The tears might be partial or complete, and they’re usually painful or debilitating. See the COSMO team at the first sign of a rotator cuff injury.

What are the symptoms of a rotator cuff tear?

Common symptoms of rotator cuff tears include:

  • Intense shoulder pain
  • Arm and shoulder weakness
  • Mild but worsening pain
  • Pain with raising your arm
  • Clicking or popping sounds with arm movements
  • Shoulder pain that worsens at night

Rotator cuff tears may get worse over time without the right treatment. Complete rotator cuff tears can make it nearly impossible to move your arm.

What are the causes and risk factors for rotator cuff tears?

Common causes of rotator cuff tears include:

  • Sports injuries
  • Falling down
  • Shoulder dislocation
  • Broken collarbone
  • Age-related wear and tear
  • Shoulder overuse
  • Bone spurs
  • Decreased blood flow
  • Arthritis

Risk factors for tearing your rotator cuff include:

  • Genetic predisposition
  • Poor posture
  • Smoking
  • Biochemical imbalance of the shoulder
  • Cartilage abnormalities
  • Being over age 40
  • Family history of shoulder problems 

You’re more likely to experience a rotator cuff tear if you complete repetitive shoulder movements. Carpenters, painters, mechanics, and athletes have a higher risk of tearing their rotator cuffs.

How does my doctor diagnose rotator cuff tears?

To find out if a rotator cuff tear is the cause of shoulder pain or weakness, your COSMO specialist discusses your symptoms and medical history. They complete a physical examination to assess your range of motion, arm strength, and shoulder tenderness.

Your provider recommends you undergo X-rays, MRIs, ultrasounds, or other imaging procedures to confirm your diagnosis and the degree of tear you have.

What are common treatments for rotator cuff tears?

Common treatments for rotator cuff tears include:

  • Wearing a sling
  • Medications
  • Steroid injections
  • Platelet-rich plasma (PRP)
  • Stem cell injections
  • Physical therapy
  • Surgery

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) sourced from your blood and stem cell injections enhance cell regeneration and your body’s natural ability to heal.

The COSMO Fit Lab offers comprehensive physical therapy services to strengthen your shoulder joint in place of, or in addition to, surgery. About eight in 10 people with partial rotator cuff tears can get better without surgery.

Surgery is sometimes the best option to fully recover from a rotator cuff tear, especially if you have a complete tear or non-surgical treatments haven’t worked. COSMO offers arthroscopic surgery using tiny incisions. Afterward, you wear a sling for 4-6 weeks and complete physical therapy. Full recovery may take a year or longer. 

If you struggle with shoulder pain and suspect you have a full or partial rotator cuff tear, call the Colorado Sports Medicine and Orthopaedics office or book an appointment online today.