May 30, 2016

Patient gets back to daily activities after a rotator cuff tear

Patient Stories | Shoulder

There are two things that can be promised to Hoosiers during the winter months: snow and more snow. The occasional tumble on ice is a risk we take as soon as we take a step out the door. Any physical activity increases the risk of any injury as we strain to survive the snow.

Snowfall is always accompanied by shoveling. Noel Taylor was doing just that in February of 2003 when she tore her right rotator cuff.

The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder. These muscles and tendons hold the head of your upper arm bone in the shoulder socket, helping the shoulder joint move.

When the rotator cuff tears, a dull ache often occurs, worsening over time. Rotator cuff tears are a common cause of disability; close to two million people saw their physicians for rotator cuff injuries in 2008 alone.

Shoulder pain

For Noel, the pain was manageable with physical therapy. She also used swimming and yoga as a means to rehabilitate her injury. As time progressed, so did Noel’s pain.

“I’d have to say that my injury limited me. There were movements I could not do and things, especially at work, that I could not do well or at all. It gradually got worse over the years,” said Noel.

Once the physical therapy ceased to further assist the pain she was experiencing, Noel was directed to OrthoIndy physician, Dr. Stephen Kollias.

“It’s beneficial in a rotator cuff situation, like Noel’s, to resolve the issues quickly. The longer you wait the bigger it gets. The bigger it gets, the harder it is to fix,” said Dr. Kollias.

Rotator cuff surgery

Dr. Kollias scheduled Noel’s surgery for June 2014, but complications ensued. In early October, Noel began experiencing atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation is a quick or irregular heartbeat that can lead to other heart complications and often involves poor blood flow; a major surgery complication waiting to happen.

It took until February 2015 for Noel to be cleared for surgery by her cardiologist. Surgery was then scheduled for March 30, 2015.

“I was 66 and had not had surgery since I was five, so I really didn’t know what to expect. The OrthoIndy team was, from start to finish; helpful, responsive, thorough, attentive and just plain pleasant to deal with,” said Noel about her experience at OrthoIndy and OrthoIndy Hospital.

A return to activity

After her surgery, Noel was quick to bounce back. With physical therapy and encouragement from Dr. Kollias, Noel experienced very little pain.

Her first big adventure was driving and going to restaurants, proudly sporting her sling despite them difficulty of having to be left-handed. She is now back to normal activities, loving her pain-free life.

“I just want to say thank you to Dr. Kollias and the entire OrthoIndy team for everything. I look forward to working with OrthoIndy in the future.”

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Kollias, please call 317.802.2817 or learn more about sports medicine treatment at OrthoIndy.

Schedule an Appointment Call OrthoIndy 317.802.2000
Tanasia Jackson

By Tanasia Jackson

Tanasia was the OrthoIndy Marketing Intern during summer 2015. During her internship, Tanasia wrote a wide array of articles and blog posts, as well as aided in social media and media relations tactics for OrthoIndy. Tanasia graduated from Ball State University in May 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in public relations and a communications studies minor.

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