My answer typically involves an explanation of some basics about rotator cuff tears:
One of the most interesting parts of my job is that I get to interact with so many different types of people on a regular basis. Their different personality types color many of the decisions we make in the office more than most people realize.
When you are studying to be a doctor, much of the initial schooling focuses on the hard sciences: anatomy, physiology, biochemistry. But once you get through that and are a practicing professional, you find that the emphasis shifts significantly.
We highlighted an article a while ago about how smoking was bad for your bones in general. It not only leads to osteoporosis (weak bone) but can lead to poor healing if you are unlucky enough to break a bone.
Most people know that smoking is bad for your heart and lungs. Few people know that it’s bad for your bones and joints.
There’s a host of reasons why smoking leads to poor bone health. And I’m not sure how interested you are in the nitty gritty bichemical details of why this is. So I will cut to the chase and highlight two specific scenarios in which smoking can be bad for your bones. Continue reading
The other day a patient asked me if he should exercise his shoulder before getting a shoulder replacement. A little background, the patient is about 60 years old and is an avid weight lifter. I was a little confused by the question so I asked him to clarify.
He thought that if he increased his shoulder and chest strength before surgery, this would make it easier for him to recover and for me to do the surgery.
Rotator cuff tears can be tricky. And unfortunately not all rotator cuff repairs are fool proof. Older studies showed that rotator cuff repairs failed to heal in up to 3/4 of attempts in some patients.
Newer studies tend to show more favorable results but on average still report at least a 1/4 chance of retiring of the rotator cuff repair.
I recently saw a patient who had undergone three previous shoulder surgeries over the course of four years by another surgeon. All of the surgeries were arthroscopic surgeries. Two of those surgeries were to fix the labrum. The patient had a type of labrum tear called a SLAP tear.
The patient was about 40 years old. My hunch was that she had a repair that never healed. The evidence Continue reading
Research has shown that the ability to walk unassisted is likely the single most important factor in maintaining your independence as you age. Targeting this simple metric may offer the secret to staying independent and new research supports this conclusion.
A recent study of over 1600 men and women in their 70’s and 80’s with mostly sedentary lifestyles aimed to examine whether a basic exercise program focused on lower body strength could help to maintain independent walking status in older adults. Continue reading
Frozen shoulder is one of the most frustrating problems for patients and doctors alike.
It’s painful, it comes out of nowhere, it causes sleepless nights and it often seems to drag on forever – 12 months is not uncommon.
As doctors we like quick fixes as much as you do. So it’s hard to see a patient come back to you for months on end and the best you can offer is: Continue reading
Most people think that you need an MRI to “see” everything that is going on in your shoulder. But it’s simply not true. And there are a few ways that you can be fooled by this line of reasoning.
1. You fail to put findings in context
I can show you MRI reports of normal shoulders that will scare the daylights out of you. These are full page documents that describe in great detail, Continue reading