It was announced Wednesday that Jets’ Eric Decker will undergo season ending surgery to repair his partially torn rotator cuff.  The 29 year Wide Receiver had injured his shoulder in week 2 against the Bills but continued to play through the injury until week 3 when an MRI revealed the tear in his rotator cuff. Partial tears of the rotator cuff tendon means fraying of the tendon where the fibers are partially torn just as a rope can be frayed. Initially these injuries can have significant pain and disability with the inability to fully elevate the arm. Decker had been trying to rehab the shoulder for several weeks but decided to undergo surgery in an effort to back to full strength for next season.

Whether you are a weekend warrior of NFL starter, a shoulder injury can severely limit your ability to compete.  The treatment for rotator cuff tears is based on the severity of the tear itself.  The first treatment option is generally Physical Therapy and about 65-80% of people can recover and can be pain free with full motion and strength with just Physical Therapy.

If Physical Therapy does not alleviate pain and increase range of motion, a corticosteroid injection may be given that calms down inflammation and resolves pain.  However, this relief is often temporary as it does not repair the tear itself.

For those who have a more significant tear of the rotator cuff (>50% the thickness of the tendon) surgery may be indicated to repair the tendon. Rotator cuff repair surgery is generally performed as an outpatient procedure using an arthroscopic approach.  Following surgery, most patients will spend about 4 weeks in a sling as the shoulder heals and Physical Therapy can begin shortly thereafter.  Below is a helpful guide to this rehab process:

 

 


Dr. Charles Ruotolo is a renowned shoulder expert and the President of Total Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Long Island.  He has published several clinical papers on shoulder injuries in overhand athletes, including “Loss of Total Arc of Motion in Collegiate Baseball Players” and “Shoulder Pain and the Overhand Athlete“.  Dr. Ruotolo and the team at Total Orthopedics and Sports Medicine are experts in treating athletes of all levels using a range of options from Physical Therapy to Arthroscopic Surgery.  If you are experiencing shoulder pain, or any muscle or joint injury, contact us today to schedule an appointment in one of our 6 locations in Long Island, Manhattan and the Bronx.