Shoulder Tendonitis Specialist in Kirkland, WA
The tendons are very important structures throughout the body that connect bones together and allow for easy motions of important joints such as the shoulder. When these tendons become inflamed, individuals can experience painful symptoms of tendonitis that may eventually prevent them from completing basic motions needed in their daily life.
Those with severe rotator cuff tendonitis should seek treatment from a specialist like Dr. Camille Clinton early on so that any damage can be corrected quickly, and the shoulder can be spared from any additional injuries. Dr. Clinton is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon specializing in diagnosing and treating conditions that affect the shoulder. She will take the time to fully evaluate your symptoms in order to determine the treatment option that is right for you. Call (425) 899-4810 to schedule an appointment at our orthopedic surgery office in Kirkland, WA today!
Rotator Cuff Injury Versus Tear
Dr. Clinton treats a wide range of shoulder conditions, with one of the most common being rotator cuff tears. This condition is often confused with rotator cuff tendonitis and various other shoulder injuries such as shoulder impingement syndrome or a SLAP tear. The primary factor that distinguishes a tear from any other condition of the shoulder is that a tear typically occurs immediately as a result of a significant trauma, or after a known shoulder condition has worsened over time without adequate treatment.
Rotator cuff tendonitis can lead to a rotator cuff tear. As tendonitis becomes a chronic issue, patients can progress into a worsening situation in which the tendons actually begin to break down and eventually tear. Obviously, it is best to avoid this degeneration entirely by seeking care from a medical professional as soon as symptoms begin to appear.
Symptoms of Rotator Cuff Tendonitis
As the tendons within the shoulder become inflamed, pain, swelling, and stiffness are often the first symptoms reported by patients. This pain often worsens when the individual:
- Raises the arm
- Lowers the arm
- Reaches behind their back
- Reaches for an object
- Tries to lift an object
It is also possible for a person to experience mild pain while the shoulder is completely still. If the joint is in motion, there is often a clicking sound that can be heard by the individual, and pain will usually begin in the front of the shoulder before it starts to move along the side of the joint. As the shoulder tendonitis worsens, patients are likely to experience more and more difficulty in moving the joint to the point where any movement at all is extremely painful.
How Is Rotator Cuff Tendonitis Diagnosed?
Dr. Clinton will first conduct a physical examination of the shoulder to evaluate the patient’s range of motion, pain level, and any other concerning symptoms. Patients will often be asked to perform a series of simple movements and exercises to test the strength of their rotator cuff.
Additional imaging tests such as an X-ray, ultrasound, or MRI may be ordered to give an accurate diagnosis and rule out any other potential causes of the patient’s symptoms. While X-ray images cannot discern much about the tendons within the shoulder, they can identify any bone spurs that may be present along the joint.
Rotator Cuff Tendonitis Treatment in Kirkland, WA
Recommendations provided by Dr. Clinton will vary from one patient to another based on their specific case and how far their rotator cuff tendonitis has progressed.
Mild symptoms of rotator cuff tendonitis can be treated by reducing activity levels, icing the area regularly, and taking anti-inflammatory medications to control any inflammation. Seeing a physical therapist can also help to address more minor symptoms, and many patients are able to utilize these sessions to safely build up strength in their injured shoulder.
If early treatments were unable to provide effective relief from painful symptoms, Dr. Clinton may suggest steroid injections to the shoulder. These injections are intended to reduce any inflammation of the shoulder joint, which can quickly lower pain levels for the patient.
Surgery for Rotator Cuff Tendonitis
More advanced cases of rotator cuff tendonitis may require surgery. Fortunately, Dr. Clinton has the skill and experience needed to perform minimally invasive procedures like arthroscopy. Individuals who elect for arthroscopic surgery of the shoulder can enjoy all of the same benefits as they would expect from traditional surgery. The major benefit is that they can also avoid large incisions, scarring, infection, bleeding, and a lengthy recovery process.