D’Agostino went to his physician and was diagnosed with a torn rotator cuff. Don, one of an estimated 13 million people in the United States who seek medical care for shoulder problems each year, tried physical therapy, anti-inflammatory drugs, and over-the-counter and prescription painkillers. Offering little relief, D’Agostino eventually turned to the shoulder experts with Washington University Orthopedics.
“Shoulder injuries are fairly common. The shoulder is characterized by a fine balance between mobility and stability that is maintained by a series of muscles, ligaments and tendons which allow for a wide range of movement,” says Leesa Galatz, MD, shoulder surgeon with Washington University Orthopedics and D’Agostino’s shoulder specialist. “The rotator cuff is composed of four muscles that surround the shoulder joint. They can be torn either through repetitive use over time or because of a traumatic injury. The incidence of these types of tears increases with age and can be present in both shoulders even though a patient feels pain only in one joint.”