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Rotator cuff is to blame for majority of shoulder pain in golfers

Dr. Marc Milia explains a surgery that can help improve your game

Like most weekend golfers, I find the game to be frustrating at times.

The typical amateur golfer often has poor mechanics which leads to overly using the arms and shoulders. If you notice your handicap rising as you age, it may be due to a rotator cuff problem.

Whether you swing a hammer at work or a golf club on the course, the shoulder can become a source of pain by the end of the day. The majority of complaints involving the shoulder are actually related to the rotator cuff.

Anatomically, the shoulder is a ball and socket that is held together by ligaments and tendons. The rotator cuff tendons are a group of four muscles that come from the wing blade to form a cuff of tendinous tissue that inserts into the humeral bone (the ball). The rotator cuff resides below the acromion bone (from the wing blade).

Overhead athletes and manual laborers can develop irritation below the acromion bone from repetitive use or acute trauma. Consequently, rotator cuff problems can frequently arise. In most cases, physical therapy or corticosteroid injections can solve the problem. However, on occasion, surgery might be necessary.

A program has been developed where the physician can utilize minimally invasive techniques to arthroscopically repair the rotator cuff in an efficient manner. The recovery phase’s discomforts can be alleviated by local nerve blocks that allow the patient to tolerate pain two to three days into the early postoperative phase.

Most golfers can return to the sport within 3-5 months after rotator cuff surgery. Although the recovery can be long, the ability to continue many years in the game is certainly worth it!

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