A Brief Guide to Shoulder Treatment

Jonathan R. Pritt, M.D.

The shoulder is one of the most flexible joints in the human body. It provides significant power and mobility while maintaining a wide range of motion. Because of its complexity, it is susceptible to a variety of overuse and sports injuries, as well as natural wear and tear injuries. Fortunately, the shoulder is also very resilient and can be healed through proper medical interventions, sometimes including surgery and physical therapy. 

Jonathan R. Pritt, M.D. is an orthopaedic surgeon with The Orthopaedic Institute. He is fellowship-trained in shoulders and sports medicine, making him an industry leader in the treatment and management of complex shoulder conditions.

Shoulder Pain: What It Could Be

The shoulder is a resilient joint, but that does not make it immune to injury. Anyone from the elite athlete to the weekend warrior to the aging retiree can suffer from shoulder pain. With causes ranging from sports injuries to arthritis, shoulder pain can affect millions of people per year.

While most cases of shoulder pain are acute and may go away with time and conservative care measures, other cases require medical intervention. If you have shoulder pain that lasts longer than 6 weeks and is not alleviated by conservative care, it may be time to seek the help of an orthopaedic specialist. 

Below are two of the most common causes of shoulder pain and how we treat them at The Orthopaedic Institute. 

Rotator Cuff Tears

Rotator cuff tears are injuries to the set of tendons in the shoulder that are vital for normal function. It is common in aging adults due to the natural degeneration of the tendons and tissues. However, active patients may also suffer rotator cuff tears as a result of overuse or sports-related injuries. 

Rotator Cuff Repairs

Minimally invasive, arthroscopic surgery can be used to repair a torn rotator cuff. During this surgery, the tendons are precisely replaced to the bone where it had detached. This process heals the shoulder joint and allows for regained mobility. 

Another option for pain relief from a rotator cuff injury is steroid injections. These injections work as an anti-inflammatory to help relieve pain for a short period. While these are great at helping the symptoms of rotator cuff injuries, they do not help heal the joint. In these cases, arthroscopic surgery or a conservative care option such as physical therapy will need to accompany the injections. 

When to Seek Treatment

If an individual is experiencing shoulder pain that interferes with their daily life, it may be time to seek treatment from an orthopaedic specialist. Rotator cuff injuries can be extremely painful and bothersome, especially at night when trying to sleep. Some individuals may complain of a deep, throbbing ache in the shoulder that does not go away. This may be yet another sign of a rotator cuff injury that requires medical intervention. 

Arthritis

Aging individuals with severe or end-stage shoulder arthritis can experience debilitating shoulder pain. In the end stages of arthritis, there is little to no cartilage cushioning the joint and aiding in movement, leading to bone-on-bone movement and extreme discomfort. 

Total Shoulder Replacements

Arthritis that has progressed this far cannot often be treated through conservative measures. In these cases, total shoulder replacements are typically the preferred treatment method. Total shoulder replacements have a roughly 90% improvement rating, making them terrific options for arthritic patients seeking relief. 

Dr. Pritt has been offering total shoulder replacement surgeries for 12 years. One of the greatest advancements he has noticed in the industry is the innovative reverse shoulder replacement surgery. Now, there are two types of shoulder replacement surgeries to help patients find relief. 

Anatomic total shoulder replacement: This surgery replaces the damaged or worn parts of the shoulder with artificial components. The purpose of this surgery is to mimic or replicate the shoulder’s natural anatomy to improve range of motion and mobility. 

Reverse total shoulder replacement: This type of shoulder replacement “reverses” the normal ball and socket layout of the shoulder joint. Through this process, artificial components are used to reverse the natural joint, which causes the joint to rely on different muscles for movement. This typically allows for improved mobility and flexibility of the shoulder joint once healed. 

Dr. Jonathan R. Pritt is a leader in treating complex shoulder disorders. If you have shoulder pain from an injury or arthritis, seek care from The Orthopaedic Institute. Dr. Pritt is fellowship trained and Board Certified in Orthopaedic Surgery. He attended medical school at the University of Florida College of Medicine and completed his residency at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN.  Additionally, he obtained his fellowship training in Sports Medicine at the Steadman Hawkins Clinic of the Carolinas. Dr. Pritt practices at The Orthopaedic Institute’s Gainesville location.

Learn more about shoulder treatment options by scheduling your appointment with The Orthopaedic Institute today: https://www.toi-health.com/appointment/.