Rotator Cuff Tear Specialist

Smith Orthopedics & Sports Medicine

Jarrod R. Smith, MD

Sports Medicine Physician & Orthopedic Surgeon located in Ashland, KY

Every year, about 2 million people seek treatment for rotator cuff tears. Jarrod R. Smith, MD, is one of the only orthopedic surgeons in Kentucky who uses the Regeneten™ bioinductive implant to treat rotator cuff tears. For state-of-the-art rotator cuff repair, call Smith Orthopedics & Sports Medicine in Ashland, Kentucky to book an appointment.

Rotator Cuff Tear Q & A

What is a rotator cuff tear?

The rotator cuff is four tendons that combine to hold your upper arm bone in place in your shoulder socket. These tendons help you lift and rotate your arm.

A rotator cuff tear happens when one or more of these tendons becomes ripped or frayed. Rotator cuff tears can be partial, meaning that the tendon is damaged but not entirely severed, or complete, which essentially creates a hole in the tendon.

Rotator cuff tears can happen suddenly, like after a bad fall. More often, they develop slowly from degenerative damage that takes place over time. A degenerative rotator cuff tear can result from repetitive motions, like throwing a baseball, or a lack of blood supply to the tendons.

How do I know if I have a rotator cuff tear?

Rotator cuff tears that result from a sudden injury usually cause immediate, intense pain. You may also feel a snapping sensation in your shoulder and lose strength in your upper arm.

Signs and symptoms of a degenerative rotator cuff tear appear gradually and may include:

  • Pain when moving your arm certain ways
  • Shoulder pain at rest, especially when lying on the injured side
  • Weakness in your arm
  • A crackling sensation when moving your shoulder

Symptoms usually start out mild and worsen over time. Sometimes, rotator cuff tears aren’t painful, but still cause other symptoms.

How are rotator cuff tears diagnosed and treated?

First, Dr. Smith reviews your symptoms and medical history. He carefully examines your shoulder, checking for areas of tenderness or restricted mobility. He may also order tests, like an X-ray or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan.

Then, he recommends the best treatment for your particular condition. About 80% of patients with a rotator cuff tear get relief from pain and symptoms with nonsurgical treatments, including:

  • Activity modification
  • Physical therapy
  • Resting the shoulder

If you’re very active or your pain doesn’t go away with nonsurgical treatment, Dr. Smith may recommend rotator cuff repair surgery. He uses minimally invasive shoulder arthroscopy to perform rotator cuff repair with the triple-row technique. This method improves the healing potential and minimizes damage to healthy tissues.

Dr. Smith is also one of a small group of surgeons in the state of Kentucky to utilize the Regeneten bioinductive implant. This small, postage stamp-sized implant covers the site of injury or repair and promotes the creation of tendon-like tissue that strengthens your rotator cuff.

For the leading techniques in rotator cuff repair surgery, call Smith Orthopedics & Sports Medicine to schedule an appointment.