Fair Oaks Orthopedics

 Rotator Cuff Injuries

Rotator Cuff Tears & Injuries - Treatment in Fairfax VA

What Is A Rotator Cuff?

Your rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that hold your shoulder joint in place and allow you to move your arm and shoulder. Pain and other issues can occur when part of the rotator cuff becomes irritated or damaged. This can result in tenderness, weakness and reduced range of motion.

There are four tendons that stabilize you shoulder joint and help you to lift your arms above your head. These tendons connect to the four muscles that move in your shoulder. Rotator cuff damage occurs from an acute injury or as a result of repetitive strains and wear and tear to these tendons.

Generally, injuries occur to sports players that make repetitive, overhead movements, such as tennis. Minor strain injuries can progress to a partial tear of the tendons or a complete rupture of the muscles with loss of shoulder joint function.

Sometimes a complete tear can also happen in older adults who are less active. 

Your rotator cuff can become inflamed due to heavy lifting,
trauma, or continued repetitive arm movements.

A rotator cuff tear often happens when muscle or tendon wounds create tissue damage or disturbance. These tears often progress with time due to long-term overuse of your shoulder or a traumatic wound. A torn rotator cuff can also be combined with irritation or injuries of the biceps tendon or labral tears.

To prevent a torn rotator cuff from existing shoulder problems to become worse, it is crucial to stop performing motions that may aggravate the situation.  Shoulder tendinitis is a common repetitive motion injury for athletes who participate in overhead sports like golf, swimming, tennis and volleyball.

Syndrome Treatment
Fairfax Orthopedic Surgeon specializing in Sports Medicine
  • You will experience limited movement and pain that impairs your ability to perform simple daily actions.
  • A feeling of heaviness or weakness in your arm.
  • Inability to lift your arm to reach upward.  or bahind your back.
  • Pain shooting down the outside of your arm and to top of your shoulder.
  • Loss of shoulder motion

Symptom’s of A Rotator Cuff Injury 

Even the slightest movement can cause the sharpest pains in your shoulder. Every day movements such as getting dressed in the morning can cause you the most excruciating pain.  With a Rotator Cuff Injury, your range of motion becomes very limited. Your issues most of the time are different from another patients limitations, because everyone’s injury is different.

If you have injured your rotator cuff, you may experience difficulty, pain and weakness when you try raising, lowering or rotating your arm. You may hear popping, clicking or crackling sounds or sensations when moving your arm in certain positions. As well as feel shoulder pain that worsens at night or when resting your arm.

Before recommending treatment, Dr. Pournaras will  conduct an in-depth examination to accurately diagnose your symptoms. He will perform a physical exam and review your medical history. 


A partial or complete rotator cuff tear can make it difficult to raise and move your arm. Especially with shoulder pain and arm weakness. Rotator cuff injuries are common, as you get older. Rest, pain relievers and physical therapy can help. Some patients need surgery to reattach a torn rotator cuff.


A steroid injection into the shoulder joint is very helpful, especially if the pain is interfering with your sleep, daily activity. While injections can provide temporary relief, they may weaken your tendon and reduce the success of future shoulder surgery.


Physical therapy is generally one of the first treatments recommended. Specific exercises customized to the location of your rotator cuff injury. These excercises can help restore flexibility and strength to your shoulder. Physical therapy is also an important part of the recovery process after rotator cuff surgery.

Physical therapy can help to strengthen your rotator cuff muscles, sidestep potentially harmful circumstances by creating awareness, and determine when it is the best time to return to everyday movements. Rotator cuff muscle and shoulder blade support exercises can contribute to avoiding potential damage to the rotator cuff, and overall strengthening.  

Surgery can be the best option for a torn rotator cuff if your pain does not improve with non-surgical methods.

Continued pain is the main indication for surgery. If you are very active and use your arms for overhead work or sports, this is somethingt to consider.

Surgery is a good option if:

  • Symptoms have lasted 6 to 12 months or more
  • It has been determied that you have a large tear (more than 3 cm) 
  • You are experiencing  significant weakness and loss of function in your shoulder
  • Your tear was caused by a recent, acute trauma

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Wed 8:00 am – 4:30 pm
Thu 8:00 am – 4:30 pm
Fri 8:00 am – 4:30 pm
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Sun Closed

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Fair Oaks Orthopedics

For over 30 years, Virginia Board Certified Physician, Dr. Stephen W. Pournaras, Jr. has provided excellent healthcare and treatment for his patients. As a multi-specialty orthopedic practice, offering the best for you medically to treat, heal and lead you to optimum recovery. We are dedicated to using state-of-the-art technology while building nurturing relationships with each of our patients.

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