Shoulder injuries can be incapacitating. Many patients find it extremely frustrating to wait out the lengthy healing process as they feel they have to put their life on hold, or inconveniently change their routine. At Mattalino Orthopaedic, our team can help expedite your healing process with a shoulder injuries treatment. We are conveniently located in Scottsdale, which is considered a part of the Greater Phoenix, AZ, area.
How Long Do Shoulder Injuries Take To Heal?
It Depends on the Severity
If you’ve hurt your shoulder, you may need a shoulder injuries treatment, depending on the extent of the damage. Our team in Phoenix, AZ, can help you determine if treatment is necessary for your case. When you strain or sprain your shoulder, in most mild cases you’ll be able to comfortably return to normal activities after just a week or two. Unfortunately, not all sprains are mild. More moderate sprains may take six to eight weeks.
Severe sprains can start feeling better at that six to eight week mark, but they’ll need a longer recovery time and rehabilitation to ensure you can safely begin full shoulder activity without risk of re-injuring yourself. This is crucial, since the last thing you want to do is push your shoulder too far during recovery and set your timeline back even further.
Other Factors That May Slow Down Healing
If you’re an athlete, or your job involves a lot of shoulder motion or heavy lifting, your body may need more time to recover from a shoulder injury. That’s due to the fact that professional athletes or those in physical jobs may be more likely to either re-injure their shoulder during recovery, or suffer frequent shoulder injuries that may cause some lasting damage.
As we age, our body’s ability to heal itself begins to slow down. That also means that the body can unfortunately grow more prone to injury as you age. Due to a longer healing process, the pain related to the injury may become chronic.
If you’ve been struggling to heal from what should have been a mild injury, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Sometimes the body needs a helping hand, even with minor injuries.
What Kind of Shoulder Injuries Treatment Is Right for You?
Torn Labrum Repair
We can arthroscopically repair a tear to the labrum. Since this wide band of supportive tissue surrounds the shoulder’s socket, suffering an injury to it can be quite painful and severely limit your range of motion.
Arthroscopic Rotator Cuff Repair
This is an extremely common injury when it comes to those with physical jobs, or anyone who plays sports professionally or recreationally. Our team uses an arthroscope to repair the torn rotator cuff, so this collection of muscles and tendons can get back to holding the head of your humerus securely in the shoulder’s socket.
Arthroscopic Shoulder Impingement Surgery
The most common symptom of subacromial impingement is pain whenever the patient raises their affected arm. This condition creates friction between the tendons of your shoulder and a part of the shoulder blade known as the acromion. That friction is where the pain comes from.
Arthroscopic SLAP Repair
SLAP stands for superior labrum anterior-posterior, and it involves torn cartilage. The shoulder socket, where the labrum and your bicep tendon join together, is surrounded by a ring of cartilage that can suffer damage. We use general and regional anesthesia during our arthroscopic SLAP repairs.
PRP Injection Therapy
If all your shoulder needs is a boost of your body’s natural healing abilities, PRP therapy could be the right call. A good candidate may have suffered a deep muscle tear, be dealing with slow recovery time, or simply want to give their body the best chance to feel better as soon as possible.
PRP uses platelet-rich plasma sourced from the patient’s own blood to provide concentrated healing properties to an affected area. It can also help reduce both swelling and pain.
If pain is the primary symptom of concern, subacromial injections can help the patient improve their daily comfort levels so they can better enjoy their lives. The issues it’s most commonly used for include impingement syndrome, adhesive capsulitis, and rotator cuff tendinosis.
What Is Arthroscopy?
An arthroscope can make the process of surgical repair as accurate and minimally-invasive as possible. The arthroscope itself is a thin tube topped with a camera that can show our orthopedic experts exactly what’s going on. We will then know the right surgical technique and tools to fix the problem.
What Are the Signs Your Shoulder May Need Professional Help?
Since the shoulder is such an important part of hand and arm function, any time you suffer a shoulder injury it’s a good idea to have it checked over professionally.
Some important symptoms to look out for can include:
- Symptoms that persist chronically
- Altered movement
- The shoulder looks different than before
- Weakness in your hand and arm
- A shoulder that easily “pops” out of place
What Type of Shoulder Injuries Treatment I Can Do at Home?
While there aren’t necessarily any at-home treatments we can recommend, there are things you can do on your own to support the health of your shoulder as you heal, or help prevent injuries in the first place.
1. Quit Smoking
Smoking can negatively interfere with the healing process. This can be especially true when it comes to surgery, as complications such as a longer recovery process or even infection may be more likely if you regularly smoke cigarettes.
2. Protect Your Shoulder When You Sleep
If you habitually sleep in a certain position, it can be difficult to change it up. That said, if your usual position is sleeping on your injured shoulder, a change may be necessary and helpful when it comes to healing. Propping the injured arm up with pillows may help prevent you from rolling onto it in your sleep.
3. Don’t Push Yourself
It goes without saying, but please follow the advice of medical professionals when it comes to what you should or shouldn’t do with your injured shoulder. When they start to feel better, some patients may begin to think they don’t have to be “overly cautious” by following the rules.
The truth is, those guidelines are there for a reason, and it’s much better to err on the side of safety then end up adding weeks to your recovery timeline.
4. Try Out a Cold Compress
The inflammation from swelling can make your arm feel stiff and sore. The cooling effect of a cold compress can help numb that pain, while the cold temperature can bring swelling down.
Be careful not to put an ice pack up against your bare skin, as the last thing you want to do is deal with frostbite on top of an injured shoulder. Wrapping your ice pack of choice in a towel beforehand can help protect your skin.
5. Use Heat
It may sound odd to suggest heat after just suggesting cold compresses, but both methods can be helpful. While colder temperatures are soothing and help reduce swelling, the use of heat can help with joint lubrication and may also feel soothing to the area. Which approach is right will depend on your injury. You may even want to alternate between hot and cold compresses.
A hot water bottle, heating pad, or heated gel pack can all be used for this purpose, but remember to be mindful of the temperature so you don’t cause a burn. Heat therapy can be especially soothing for those suffering from arthritis.
6. Compression Bandages
We may recommend the use of elastic medical bandages or similar shoulder wraps to help manage pain and swelling, depending on what kind of injury you’ve suffered. The fit should be snug enough to work, but not so snug that you risk cutting off your circulation.
Circulation is important for many reasons, but it also helps promote healing, so a bandage that’s too tight could be working against you. If your arm starts to look pale or blue, or is feeling a little tingly and numb, that’s a sign you should loosen that bandage.
7. Gentle Exercise
While it’s crucial not to overexert yourself during the healing process, some gentle, careful exercise may help promote healing and alleviate stiffness. The keyword here is “safe,” and what that looks like will depend on where you are in your healing journey.
If you have any questions about what activities are safe and beneficial, please ask us. Our experienced team would be happy to give you advice on what forms of exercise would be the safest. Physical therapy is another excellent way to encourage muscle strength and recovery while being guided by a professional.
Why Choose Our Team in Phoenix, AZ?
If you’re struggling with a shoulder injury, you don’t have to tough it out alone. Our team has the experience to guide you along this process. Get the help you need by reaching out to Mattalino Orthopaedic in Phoenix, AZ, today to schedule your consultation.