I had a small rotator cuff tear repaired about 10 months ago and, unfortunately, I am still having issues. I have never been pain free, with most of the pain and "tightness" located in the front of my shoulder. I also have slight swelling in my hand, particularly after exercising my arm/shoulder. My doctor ordered an MRI to examine the rotator cuff, and he said everything looked good with the repair. He advised a cortisone shot to calm down any inflammation that may be causing the pain, and to "break up" the scar tissue. I asked him how everything else looked (biceps tendon, labrum, etc.) and he said as far a he could tell on the MRI, there were no issues. He did mention that he did not believe that the biceps tendon was compromised, mostly based on the in-surgery photographs that showed a healthy biceps tendon. My question is two-fold: first, is there any better way to examine my shoulder than through an MRI (e.g. physical examination/sonogram), and second, should I be concerned about a frayed biceps tendon/labrum tear at this point. The pain is most evident during the "open can" exercises, and the external rotation stretches and exercises. Any feedback on this matter would be greatly appreciated.
As you know, the pain you are describing sounds like rotator cuff driven, and not labrum or biceps pain. I have seen a severe bursitis cause quite excruciating pain, and so i hope the cortisone shot will be helpful. If not, an MRI arthrogram is more useful than a plain MRI. Sonograms can be useful, but they are very user dependant, that is, they depend on the technician and doctor performing and reading the study for really reliable results. I would also suggest, if yu are still doing PT, take a break.
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