Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Shoulder FAQ

Question:

Years ago, I tore my rotator cuff while lifting and carrying children in a daycare. I couldn’t take time off from work for physical therapy or surgery then. Now, I have chronic pain that’s worse at night. Is it too late for treatment?

Answer:

Maybe not. Untreated rotator cuff tears can lead to wear and tear on the shoulder joint. A chronic tear with arthritis often results in restricted and sore shoulder motions. Severe pain is reported with daily activities and at night. Doctors offer several methods of treatment for this problem. The joint can be cleaned out, fused, or replaced. Removing fragments of tissue, scraping off bone spurs, and opening the joint space can help. Fusion eliminates pain, but also restricts motion. Replacing the joint is a third option. One or both sides of the joint is removed and replaced. If both sides are involved, it’s called a total joint arthroplasty. If only one side is altered, it’s a hemiarthroplasty. Ioannis K. Sarris, MD, PhD, et al. Bipolar Hemiarthroplasty for Chronic Rotator Cuff Tear Arthropathy. In The Journal of Arthroplasty. March 2002. Vol. 18. No. 2. Pp. 169-173.

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