The rotator cuff (a combination of muscles and tendons) plays an important role in activities that mostly go unnoticed. Like picking something off a shelf, stretching or playing a sport like golf.
Wear and tear to the rotator cuff is usually treated with medication and physical therapy. Surgical intervention is required for severe cases, like a fall or injury. If left untreated, it could lead to rotator cuff tendonitis, which is an inflammation of the tendon that attaches to the bone. Some of the causes of rotator cuff tears are:
Athletes participating in repetitive overhead sports including baseball, softball, swimming, weightlifting, tennis, hammering, painting and others are at a risk of developing rotator cuff tears over time. The tendons comprising the rotator cuff progressively wear down because of repeated actions.
Acute sudden trauma can also cause injury. Falling on an outstretched arm is a typical example, shoulder dislocations and breaking the clavicle may also tear the rotator cuff.
Tearing or fraying of the rotator cuff can develop as a part of the aging process and is not uncommon in people over 40 years old. Decreased blood flow as a part of aging impedes repair of joint tissues.
Family history of rotator cuff tears increases one’s risk.
Toxins in cigarette smoke may prevent tissue repair and maintenance predisposing one to injury.
Poor posture may overburden the rotator cuff over time leading to injury.
The StemX Diagnosis
EvaluationAssessing your health history, current medication and modes of treatment, severity of the condition, allergies and other pertinent information before charting the treatment plan.
ImagingWe use state-of-art technology to give us an accurate picture of the injury. An MRI or an ultrasound will help us evaluate the damage and degeneration in the joint areas.
TreatmentTreatment options for your condition will be explained in detail by your doctor along with the do's and don'ts prior and post treatment.
StemX's team of doctors will determine suitability of treatments through a full evaluation and ultrasound to understand the level of damage and deterioration of the injured area.
While we'd like to help everyone, 30% of potential patients will be turned away. This could be due to the following reasons:
- Deterioration of the injury and early signs of severe joint diseases are visible.
- Surgery is the only option. Our doctors will be candid with you if we feel this is your only path forward.
- Other medical conditions that do not make the injections feasible.
- A history of previous surgery with hardware implanted in the joints as there is a possible risk of infection with injecting into the area with hardware.
The field of regenerative medicine has revolutionized the treatment of sports-related and age-related bone and joint injuries. Several regenerative medicine treatments have shown clinical efficacy for rotator cuff injury like , Wharton's Jelly, growth factor injections, and plasma rich platelet (PRP) injections. These procedures act together to greatly increase growth factor production at the damaged joint in order to enhance the number and function of cartilage producing chondrocytes.
Growth Factor Injections
Growth factor (GF) injections and amniotic fluid allograft injections can be injected directly into the injured site (e.g., joints) using an ultrasound guided technique to ensure proper placement. These proteins then stimulate repair and regeneration at the site, offering the patient pain relief and quicker healing rates.
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP)
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy also stimulates healing without pharmaceuticals. PRP begins with drawing some of the patient's blood and processing it through the use of a high-speed centrifuge. The concentrated platelets secrete at least seven different growth factors that promote healing and pain relief when injected into the affected area.
A growing number of professional and amateur athletes are also turning to regenerative medicine treatments before considering surgery. Some of the advantages of these treatments are:
- Little to no downtime due to the procedure
- Results can be boosted with physical therapy
- Avoidance of the side effects of pharmaceutical and cortisone drug therapies
- All-natural biological treatments help to avoid surgery
|Treatment||Efficacy range||Effects in*|
|Prolotherapy||Low: Prolotherapy injections strengthen weakened joints by stimulating the body's healing response||Approximately 3 weeks|
|Hyaluronic Acid||Low: HA injections provide pain relief as it lubricates the joints||Approximately 3 weeks|
|Platelet rich plasma||Moderate: The extracted platelets secrete at least seven different growth factors that promote healing and pain relief||Approximately 4-6 weeks or earlier|
|Growth Factors||High: These injections kickstart tissue repair offsetting joint degeneration||Approximately 6-9 months or earlier|
|Wharton's Jelly||High: These injections stimulate resident cells to regenerate and heal the damaged tissue, by lowering pain, and reducing inflammation||Approximately 6-9 months or earlier|
Low: Prolotherapy injections strengthen weakened joints by stimulating the body's healing responseEffects in* Approximately 3 weeks
Hyaluronic AcidEfficacy range
Low: HA injections provide pain relief as it lubricates the jointsEffects in* Approximately 3 weeks
Platelet rich plasmaEfficacy range
Moderate: The extracted platelets secrete at least seven different growth factors that promote healing and pain reliefEffects in*
Approximately 4-6 weeks or earlier
Growth FactorsEfficacy range
High: These injections kickstart tissue repair offsetting joint degenerationEffects in*
Approximately 6-9 months or earlier
Wharton's JellyEfficacy range
High: These injections stimulate resident cells to regenerate and heal the damaged tissue, by lowering pain, and reducing inflammationEffects in*
Approximately 6-9 months or earlier
We want to help you heal from the inside out.
Our care team at StemX undertakes an integrated assessment of your condition and overall health to help you recover as soon as possible so that you can live without being dependent on basic physical support or medication. ur trained team of clinicians and experienced doctors come with years of administering degenerative shoulder joint disease treatments and:
- A strong commitment to ensure holistic wellbeing
- Expertise in ultrasound and MRI imaging to place injections at the precise area of injury
- Insight into lifestyle and health contributors to joint injuries
- 100% transparent interactions to help you understand the benefits and recovery paths of regenerative medicine
- Personalised treatments and follow-ups to encourage healing and restore normalcy in life
Frequently Asked Questions
Without any treatment—either rest and rehabilitation or surgery—rotator cuff disorders may get worse. Over time, you may have more pain. You may lose range of motion and strength in your shoulder, making it harder to do your daily activities
Partial tears reflect damage to the tendon, where it is not completely severed. You will experience pain and difficulty in raising your arms, a 'popping' sound while moving your arm and shoulder pain.
Yes, without proper treatment, a partially torn rotator cuff can continue to tear creating more damage.
Using regenerative treatments, some rotator cuff injuries can be dealt with in 4 to 6 weeks. Traditional treatments such as physical therapy and surgery can take anywhere between 6 weeks to 6 months to show signs of improvement.
No. All clinical data shows that whichever procedure a patient undergoes, physical therapy boosts the efficacy of the treatment, speedens recovery, and helps build back strength to prevent further injury.
A rotator cuff injury usually limits flexibility and function. You should seek medical care immediately if you experience pain with normal arm movements.
Regenerative Medicine treatments act over longer periods of time to reduce pain because they work to stimulate healing and fight the root cause of your pain. Typically, this takes about 6-12 weeks for full efficacy. Everybody heals differently because every patient has different levels of degeneration.
Cortisone shots work over the short term. Because cortisone is a potent steroid, they can alleviate pain quickly but the effects also dissipate relatively quickly. In addition, cortisone shots have a variety of potentially serious side effects and can only be administered a few times before being discontinued. Regenerative Medicine treatments do not have these side effects.
Most regenerative treatments may be covered by Medicare. The insurance section on our website will have the details you are looking for.