Steelers wide receiver Plaxico Burress recently sustained a rotator cuff injury that spells out the end of his season and may also be the end of his roller coaster ride of a career. On Monday, August 10th, he underwent surgery to repair the tear he suffered at practice. It’s always unfortunate to hear instances where injuries like this end seasons and, at times, end careers. Expert orthopedic surgeons like Eric S. Millstein, MD deals with these types of injuries on a regular basis and can help get both professional athletes and everyday people back to their normal life. Contact his office at (310) 595-1030 to book your appointment.

What Is A Rotator Cuff Injury?

The term rotator cuff is frequently used, but many don’t actually know what it is. The rotator cuff is actually composed of four different muscles (the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis for those that are interested) that are primarily responsible for arm movement and shoulder stability. These muscles form a literal cuff around the ball and socket shoulder joint, providing stability, speed, and strength. Each muscle and bone serves an individual function, but collectively they work together to move the arm up, down, inward, and outward.

Rotator Cuff Injuries

Rotator cuff injuries, like the one Plaxico sustained, normally occur with direct trauma to the shoulder or with violent motion of the arm against resistance. Frequently, a rotator cuff will tear while the arm is outstretched. In Plaxico case, he was attempting to make an overhead catch that resulted in an awkward fall, which created the injury. In instances where the tendon is completely detached, the muscle cannot pull against the bone, which greatly complicates overhead and cross body movement. Injury to the rotator cuff can make arm motion very weak, if not impossible, depending on the injury’s severity.

Rotator Cuff Surgery/Repair

Rotator cuff surgery and its associated rehab are very difficult and take a lot of time and energy to get back to 100%. Arthroscopic surgery involves reattaching torn tendons to their respective places in the shoulder with a small camera and tools that greatly reduce the procedure’s invasiveness. The procedure that Plaxico underwent was exactly like this, however recovery to the point where he’ll be able to play professional sports again is far from guaranteed.

Recovering from Rotator Cuff Surgery

Like with most injuries, recovery time is entirely dependent on the extent of the injury. That said, it’s normal for full recovery from a full tendon tear to take upwards of six months. In the case of professional athletes like Burress, even smaller injuries can make a huge difference in their ability to perform at highly competitive levels. This is one of the reasons why it’s important to see an expert orthopedic surgeon like Dr. Millstein who can make sure that the injury is properly treated, increasing the likelihood that a patient will be able to return to their everyday activities.

Make An Appointment With Dr. Millstein

Dr. Millstein has years of experience diagnosing and treating shoulder injuries, including rotator cuff injuries. Contact his office today to book an appointment to get your shoulder checked at (310) 595-1030.

Dr. Millstein

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