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Rotator Cuff Specialist

Rapid City Orthopedics

Joseph L Humpherys, D.O.

Orthopedic Surgeon & Sports Medicine located in Rapid City, SD

Your shoulder can move in a wide arc thanks to the rotator cuff, a complex of bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. An injury to the rotator cuff could severely affect your ability to use the injured arm, but Joseph Humpherys, DO, at Rapid City Orthopedics in Rapid City, South Dakota, can help. Dr. Humpherys is fellowship-trained in arthroscopic rotator cuff repairs and reconstruction. Call the office today or book an appointment online to benefit from his experience to fix your rotator cuff injury.

Rotator Cuff Q&A

What is the rotator cuff?

The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles and the tendons that attach them to the bones in your shoulder. Your rotator cuff holds the humerus (upper arm bone) in place, enabling you to lift and rotate your arm.

The rotator cuff can be injured if you do a lot of overhead work or play sports that require you to raise your arms a lot, like tennis and basketball. Rotator cuff tears often happen at the same time as a dislocation, where the ball part of the shoulder comes partially or entirely out of its socket.

Injuries can be sudden, where the muscle or tendon stretches or tears, or they can develop slowly from overuse. Untreated or poorly healed rotator cuff injuries can increase your risk of shoulder instability, where the joint dislocates more readily. You can also develop a long-term condition like cuff tear arthropathy caused by tissue breakdown.

How are rotator cuff injuries treated?

The treatment you need for your rotator cuff injury differs depending on the extent of the damage. Some of the first treatments Dr. Humpherys prescribes can include:

  • Rest
  • Avoiding painful activities
  • Wearing a splint or sling
  • Anti-inflammatory pain medication
  • Physical therapy
  • Strengthening workouts
  • Bone marrow aspirate concentrate (BMAC) injections
  • Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections
  • Steroid injections

If these treatments don’t reduce the pain and improve the function of your rotator cuff, you might need surgery.

What does rotator cuff surgery involve?

Dr. Humpherys specializes in minimally invasive arthroscopic techniques to do rotator cuff repairs. An arthroscope is an instrument that has a light source and a camera on one end. It fits into your shoulder joint through a small incision in your skin.

The arthroscope’s camera sends magnified images of your rotator cuff to a screen that Dr. Humpherys views during the surgery. He uses the images to guide him while performing surgery.

First, Dr. Humpherys assesses the damage to your rotator cuff. He removes injured or inflamed tissue and loose bone or cartilage fragments, and he might need to smooth off the torn part of the rotator cuff too.

If you’ve suffered a complete tear, Dr. Humpherys reattaches the edges of the injured tendon to the bone using suture anchors. Suture anchors are small fixings made of plastic, metal, or other material that dissolve over time.

What happens after my rotator cuff surgery?

Dr. Humpherys applies specialized techniques to improve rotator cuff healing and recovery after surgery. These techniques promote faster, more complete tissue repair. You also need physical therapy to restore function to the joint.

Call Rapid City Orthopedics today or book an appointment online to benefit from advanced rotator cuff treatment and surgery.