Millions of Americans experience shoulder pain every year.

While some minor shoulder issues heal on their own, in many cases, you need treatment from the team at Wisconsin River Orthopaedics. We provide state-of-the-art diagnostics and personalized treatment plans at our office in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin.

If you have shoulder pain that limits your movement or ability to complete day-to-day tasks, call (715) 424-1881.

What are common shoulder injuries?

Your shoulders are complex joints. Your humerus (upper arm), scapula (shoulder blade), and clavicle (collarbone) meet and are held together by a network of muscles, tendons, and ligaments (known collectively as your rotator cuff). Your rotator cuff allows an extensive range of motion – but such complexity also increases the risk of injury.

Common shoulder injuries include:

  • Bursitis
  • Dislocation
  • Fracture
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Impingement
  • Labral tear
  • Rotator cuff tear
  • Tendinitis

Athletes and people with careers or hobbies that require repetitive movements have a higher chance of injuring a shoulder. However, anyone can injure their shoulder during a traumatic sports or automobile accident or a fall.

What are the warning signs of shoulder injuries?

Pain is the most obvious sign of a shoulder injury. Depending on the injury, you might have sudden sharp pain – or your pain might develop slowly.

Shoulder injuries often reduce your range of motion. You might not be able to raise your arm above your head or reach for your toothbrush; your shoulder might feel stiff or unstable. It might also make clicking, popping, or grinding sounds when you move.

Make an appointment at Wisconsin River Orthopaedics if you have shoulder pain that limits your movement, keeps you awake at night, or interferes with your regular activities.

How are shoulder injuries diagnosed?

The orthopaedic surgeons at Wisconsin River Orthopaedics provide comprehensive exams to diagnose and evaluate your shoulder. They test your strength, flexibility, and range of motion to see how your injury affects your movement.

Wisconsin River Orthopaedics also offers in-office, state-of-the-art diagnostic testing, including open MRIs, X-rays, and arthroscopic surgery.

How are shoulder injuries treated?

Your orthopaedic team creates a customized treatment plan to address your shoulder injury. Depending on your individual needs, your plan may include:

  • Anti-inflammatory medicine
  • Corticosteroid injections
  • Physical therapy
  • Moist heat and cold therapy
  • Neuromuscular re-education
  • Ultrasound, iontophoresis, and electrical stimulation

In severe cases, you might need more invasive treatments, including shoulder replacement and another surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff or labrum.

Every year, approximately 2 million Americans seek treatment for rotator cuff injuries. At Wisconsin River Orthopaedics, our team of orthopaedic surgeons diagnoses rotator cuff injuries and provides expert, personalized treatment to repair your shoulder and relieve your pain.

What is a rotator cuff tear?

Your rotator cuff is the network of muscles and tendons that hold your shoulder together, providing stability and the extensive range of motion of the joint.
A rotator cuff tear occurs when one of the tendons in your shoulder tears and separates from the top of your humerus (upper arm bone).

Rotator cuff tears are typically caused by either an acute traumatic injury or degeneration. Rotator cuff injuries are common in athletes who perform repetitive movements or from falling on an outstretched hand.

In addition, as you age, your connective tissue becomes dry and vulnerable to wear-and-tear injuries. Shoulder arthritis can contribute to bone spur development, which can increase your risk of rotator cuff tears.

What are the signs of a rotator cuff tear?

Rotator cuff tears hurt, especially when you perform certain movements like lifting your arm above your head. The pain is persistent and might interrupt your sleep and make it uncomfortable to sleep on your side.

Other signs of a rotator cuff tear include:

  • Grating or cracking sounds when you move
  • Reduced ability to move your arm
  • Muscle weakness

If you have persistent shoulder pain or other signs of a rotator cuff tear, call Wisconsin River Orthopaedics to schedule an appointment today.

How are rotator cuff tears diagnosed?

Our orthopaedic surgeons provide thorough physical exams to evaluate your shoulder. They might have you move your arm or stretch so they can see how your pain interferes with your movement. Wisconsin River Orthopaedics also offers in-office diagnostic tests, including an open MRI, X-ray, and arthroscopy. These tests allow us to see inside your shoulder and evaluate your injury in more detail.

How are rotator cuff tears treated?

Wisconsin River Orthopaedic providers create a customized treatment plan to address your pain and repair your shoulder.

Mild tears might heal with rest, ice, and anti-inflammatory medicine, including cortisone injections. Your provider may also recommend physical therapy or ultrasound treatments to rehabilitate your shoulder.

In more severe cases, you might need surgery to repair the damage. The team tries conservative treatments before recommending surgery. Whenever possible, they use minimally invasive techniques to repair rotator cuff tears.

Frequent shoulder dislocations and similar injuries can stretch or tear your rotator cuff so much that you develop shoulder instability. A traditional shoulder replacement won’t fix this problem, but Wisconsin River Orthopaedics specializes in performing reverse total shoulder replacement.

At the practice in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, the board-certified orthopaedic surgeons switch the position of the replacement ball and socket, so you engage different muscles when using your arm.

Find out if reverse total shoulder replacement surgery is right for you by calling us at (715) 424-1881.

What is reverse total shoulder replacement surgery?

Reverse total shoulder replacement is a procedure in which the Wisconsin River Orthopaedics team replaces your shoulder joint and switches the position of the components.

A replacement shoulder joint is an artificial device consisting of a metal ball that attaches to the top of the humerus (your upper arm bone) and a plastic socket that fits into your shoulder blade.

In conventional total shoulder replacement surgery, the team matches the position of these two components to the natural anatomy of your body. With a reverse total shoulder replacement, they instead fit the socket on the top of your humerus and the ball into your shoulder blade.

Why might I need a reverse total shoulder replacement?

Reverse total shoulder replacement surgery is often a better option for patients who have rotator cuff damage. Your rotator cuff consists of muscles and tendons that enable you to move your arm, giving you the wide range of motion that’s normal for the shoulder joint.

Sports injuries and repeated shoulder dislocations can weaken the rotator cuff and make it difficult to use your arm. Over the years, arthropathy — severe arthritis of the shoulder joint — can set in.

Using the conventional shoulder replacement technique doesn’t help with mobility issues when you have rotator cuff damage because you still rely on the rotator cuff to move your arm. With reverse total shoulder replacement, you use the deltoid muscle on the top of your shoulder as a substitute for the rotator cuff.

What does reverse total shoulder replacement surgery involve?

Reverse total shoulder replacement is a complex procedure, but the Wisconsin River Orthopaedics team has considerable expertise in this type of surgery. The operation typically takes about two hours: Your provider makes an incision on the top or front of your shoulder and extracts the damaged bones. They then fit the new parts of the joint, ensuring that they’re in the optimal position to restore your shoulder function.

After reverse total shoulder replacement surgery, you won’t be able to raise your arm above your head for a while, but Wisconsin River Orthopaedics has a dedicated physical therapy team on site – they’ll create a personalized treatment plan for you to build up strength in the new joint.

If you have a severe rotator cuff injury or disease, talk to the experts at Wisconsin River Orthopaedics about your suitability for reverse total shoulder replacement: Call our office today at (715) 424-1881.