DeSean Jackson, the wide receiver for the Redskins underwent an MRI for a suspected rotator cuff tear. (I am not his doctor). The MRI did not show a tear according to the new stories. As I have said often on this site. Often times people with horrible shoulder pain do not have a tear in their rotator cuff. The most common cause of shoulder pain in the athletic population is due to rotator cuff tendinosis and “partial” rotator cuff tears. Most of these rotator cuff issues occur due to chronic stress. Rotator cuff injuries usually build up slowly over time. Many people with rotator cuff pain will also develop a secondary bursitis in their shoulder. That is the reason why the side of the arm tends to ache so much at night and with certain motions.
Rotator cuff tendinosis and partial tears will usually respond to physical therapy alone. Surgery is rarely necessary for small partial rotator cuff tears. Surgery becomes an option to consider if physical therapy and activity modification are not successful at eliminating the pain.
Over the last few years many shoulder docs have been using a relatively new technology which enables us to treat partial tears and help encourage them to heal. It involves placing a patch over the torn area. Over time the patch will often cause the partial tear to heal. This is a big change from our previous techniques which were much more invasive and risky.
Hopefully DeSean Jackson makes a full recovery from his rotator cuff injury… but if he doesn’t at least we now have reasonable options to offer him.
Disclaimer: this information is for your education and should not be considered medical advice regarding diagnosis or treatment recommendations. Some links on this page may be affiliate links. Read the full disclaimer.