Rotator Cuff Injuries


Patient Stories

I am 65 years old and a life-long baseball and New York Mets fan. I’ve played baseball since I was seven, from little league through high school and college. I even experienced a bit of semi-professional baseball. I was a catcher, and always loved it. After a brief time playing softball in my thirties, I thought I was done with playing… Read more “Matt Breitenbach”

Matt Breitenbach
New York, NY

I am a dancer. It is my life’s passion. I was a senior in college at Northeastern University when my life changed in an instant. I was in my last semester, excited about my upcoming trips to Ireland to host a dance competition and then on Spring break to Mexico with my best friends. It was going to be great.… Read more “Bianca Smith”

Bianca Smith
Rutherford, NJ

When my experience with Hospital for Special Surgery first began, I was in a poor position mentally and physically, and my outlook on things weren’t the best. I had been competitively playing soccer in the Tri-State area since I was four-years-old. My soccer career included playing competitively in the highest division of the Monmouth and Ocean County  (NJ) Soccer Association… Read more “Thomas Guardino”

Thomas Guardino
Brick, NJ

I’m a runner for over 20 years and after I ran the 2011 NYC Half Marathon, I started feeling some discomfort in my right knee, but I did not put too much attention. I went to see an orthopedic MD in Astoria and after an MRI and x-rays, he told me that my days as a runner were over, and… Read more “Viviana Denig”

Viviana Denig
Sunnyside, NY

I just wanted to take a moment and share my story and wonderful experience with The Women’s Sports Medicine Center and Doctor Sabrina Strickland at Hospital for Special Surgery. As you can see, I am not “local” to NYC. It is an effort to come to Manhattan, but the effort it well worth it. I have had a lifetime of… Read more “Paulette Gangemi”

Paulette Gangemi
Lambertville, NJ

A family member had been treated by Dr. Beth Shubin Stein for many years for arthritis in her knee. When I fell on ice last January I was unable to move my right arm and had intense pain in my arm and shoulder. I could not work at my company because of the injury. I made an appointment with Dr.… Read more “Robert Corvalan”

Robert Corvalan
Hampton Bays, NY

In high school I participated in many sports but my favorite two were soccer and track and field. During my high school career I experienced 3 shoulder dislocations but never looked into them. Upon being recruited to a collegiate track and field team, I went from being a hurdler and jumper to a heptathlete/pentathlete (7/5 event athlete). I had to… Read more “Isabella Bjorkeson”

Isabella Bjorkeson
Berkeley Heights, NJ

My name is Kim Pearson and I have never felt more cared for than during my visits to HSS. By day I am a special education teacher and group exercise instructor. However my hobby and passion in life is being a fitness competitor. I train 6 days a week and have worked my way up to the national level. One… Read more “Kim Pearson”

Kim Pearson
Stamford, CT

I’ve played basketball and/or run for my entire life, and in recent years have run 5Ks and marathons with friends.In training for the Berlin Marathon, I injured my knee, which Dr. Shubin Stein diagnosed as a complex tear of the posterior horn of my left menial meniscus. It hurt to walk and it hurt to straighten my leg, so running… Read more “Niko Pfund”

Niko Pfund
New York, NY

Since adolescence, I have had knee pain and subluxation and many knee surgeries. Knee pain was a part of my life for over twenty years, but it became increasingly worse to the point where I had episodes of significant swelling every other week. It began interfering with my work, my commute, and limited my activities with my family. I was… Read more “Maureen Suhr”

Maureen Suhr
Merrick, NY

I first injured myself playing basketball when I had just turned eleven years old. I was side shuffling to block a shot when my right knee locked and I fell down, dislocating my patella. I did not know what happened and when I was told I would be out of sports for some time, I was devastated. Physical therapy and… Read more “Katherine Trumble”

Katherine Trumble
Tinton Falls, NJ

I separated my right shoulder in 1995, the Dr. said the only that would help was time (and painkillers temporarily). It got somewhat better with time. Then worse. By 2011, not being able to reach across my desk at work to answer the phone, I sought help. The Drs. out on eastern LI kept giving me cortisone shots, to no… Read more “Barbara Jean Smith”

Barbara Jean Smith
Laurel, MD

I first came to Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) in early 2000. Soon after, I began running marathons. Through HSS, I came to better understand my running biomechanics. In particular, I discovered that my running pattern creates excessive instability upon foot strike. As a result, I have experienced a myriad of injuries, including stress fractures, bursitis, tendonitis, etc. A freak… Read more “Catherine Karas”

Catherine Karas
Ridgewood, NJ

I saw Dr. Beth Shubin Stein after consulting with a surgeon locally in Mount Kisco. I had a torn meniscus and was in a great deal of discomfort. The local surgeon suggested I get surgery right away and told me “you will never get better without surgery with the type of tear you have.” I was discouraged for two reasons:… Read more “Teresa Saputo-Crerend”

Teresa Saputo-Crerend
Bedford Corners, NY

I would first like to take the time to thank Dr. Beth Shubin Stein and her staff for giving me the best possible treatment and experience I could have hoped for. Not only did Dr. Shubin Stein fix my knee, but she got me back running in the shortest time possible! While running my first full marathon in Disney World… Read more “Stephanie VandenBerg”

Stephanie VandenBerg
Northfield, NJ

I came to HSS to determine whether or not I needed surgery. I saw two doctors and found that each felt differently as to whether or not I needed surgery. I also went for a third recommendation from a PT–a director at another well-known institution. Since I also know that surgeries in the past have always been difficult for me-I… Read more “Alicia Solan-Teglasi”

Alicia Solan-Teglasi
New York, NY

I was standing on a file cabinet in Nov of 2007, drilling new holes to install blinds. I pulled the drill out of the wall and went back catching myself on my right foot. My knee bent in the wrong direction and I heard a pop. I had always been an athlete, so I thought it was just another injury… Read more “James Bosche”

James Bosche
New York, NY

I had an amazing experience with at HSS. Dr Shubin Stein did my TTT (Tibia Tubrical Transfer) on both knees, each 6 months apart, and then screw removal. Both surgeries went way better than I could have imagined. Previously, I had crunching and significant pain especially with stairs. Now I never have pain and feel free to to whatever exercise… Read more “Kimberly Zastenchik”

Kimberly Zastenchik
Mahopac, NY

I have dealt with knee pain for eight years and finally decided to take the necessary measures to live a pain-free life. I came to HSS with hopes of being able to run, Irish-dance, take yoga, and have zero pain in daily activities. I have been active in various team sports throughout the years, but the pain increased when I… Read more “Sarah Perry”

Sarah Perry
Staten Island, NY

I had completely severed my MCL and ACL in a slow motion collision on a ski slope. The surgeons at Vail wanted to operate immediately, but I wanted to return home first. I saw several doctors who told me the MCL would heal first and then I would have to decide whether to go through ACL repair. Each doctor told… Read more “Karen Ganz”

Karen Ganz
Ardsley on Hudson, NY

Imagine your in a sports game. And all of a sudden your knees start hurting. You think it’s just from running and it’ll go away. For a few months it doesn’t go away. You tell your parents and go to a doctor. The first doctor says do physical therapy and you’ll be fine. You do the physical therapy while you… Read more “Taylor Dumond”

Taylor Dumond
Greenville, NY

When I was in 7th grade I dislocated my knee cap for the very first time. It wasn’t until I was in 8th grade when it dislocated again and my parents and I knew something was wrong with my knees. I didn’t go to HSS right away because we didn’t know if it would be that serious. We just went… Read more “Ava Harrison”

Ava Harrison Westfield, NJ
Westfield, NJ

I am 27 years old. A few years ago my knee cap was on the left side of my knee and half of my cartilage was gone on the right side of my knee. So my doctor down here told me he could not do it and he sent me up to HSS see Dr. Shubin Stein. She looked at… Read more “Laura Carhart”

Laura Carhart
Redbank, NJ

My left kneecap started dislocating and subluxating in early adolescence, when I was playing soccer and basketball regularly and also growing tall rather quickly (I wound up close to 5’8). Over the next 15 years, the condition was a constant in my life–I lived with the pain when my kneecap popped out of place a couple of times each year.… Read more “Seyward Darby”

Seyward Darby
Brooklyn, NY

Videos

Overview

There are many ways a rotator cuff can become injured, but the result is usually the tearing of one or more of the four supporting tendons. Most commonly, rotator cuff tears occur as a result of chronic, degenerative changes that are not associated with a traumatic event. Not all rotator cuff injuries feature a complete tear, some only have partial tears.

For complete tears, surgery is required as a result of a tendon retracting or being disconnected from the bone. Post-op recovery typically last between 6 and eight months, and includes the wearing of a sling/brace, and physical therapy.

Some additional common causes of rotator cuff injury include: 

  • Traumatic injury, such as falling onto an outstretched arm
  • Throwing a baseball
  • Swinging a golf club
  • Holding onto something while falling

The Rotator Cuff is: The 4 tendons (supraspinatus, subscapularis, infraspinatus, and teres minor) that extend from muscles of the scapula (shoulder blade) to the head of the humerus (the upper arm bone).

Treatments for Rotator Cuff Injuries

Non-Surgical Treatment

Not all rotator cuff tears require surgeryNonsurgical treatment options vary, and are dependent upon the severity of your injury. Some common treatments include:

  • Corticosteroid injections for temporary, but significant relief from pain and inflammation.
  • Decreasing activity levels to lower pain.
  • Physical therapy sessions featuring rotator cuff focused exercises.
  • Use of NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen to effectively reduce pain and swelling.

Surgical Treatments

Surgical FAQs