Monday, August 6, 2012

Learn more about Rotator Cuff Tears

For 20 years, Illinois resident Don D’Agostino suffered from an increasingly painful shoulder injury. A Senior Master Sergeant in the U.S. Air Force, D’Agostino was stationed in West Germany in 1984 and remembers the day the pain started. “I was throwing camouflage netting up and over my head and I wrenched my left shoulder,” he recalls. “For years, my shoulder would ache, but it got to the point eight years ago when I just couldn’t even lie down and sleep on that side. I said to myself that enough was enough.”

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.”


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