Knee Pain, Knee Surgery, Knee Surgeon

Knee Pain Making Your Glory Days Feel Like Ancient History?

Does your nagging knee pain remind you of your glory days as a star athlete perhaps being queen (or king) of your rec league? If you’re like many active adults, you’ve been competing in one form or another most of your life. But if an incoming weather front makes you think more about Advil than getting the gang together for a rematch, those old sports injuries might be catching up with you.

Believe it or not this is not all bad news – remaining active at any age helps us maintain mobility, flexibility and good mental health,as long as we take a smart approach to those activities. Addressing nagging knee pain is not the huge production it used to be. Gone are the days of four-inch scars and six weeks of immobilization. Today, relief can come in many forms,from physical therapy and other non-surgical solutions, to minimally invasive procedures that can offer immense relief and get you back in the game in a matter of weeks.

For many lifelong athletes, knee pain as an adult can be the result of a previous injury like a torn ACL, meniscus or MCL. According to the Cleveland Clinic, years after the original injury was repaired “post-traumatic arthritis” can and does occur in more than 5 million people in the US. Most non-traumatic arthritis occurs in adults 60 years or older so signs of arthritis in younger adults is often tied to a previous injury.

As we age, regular wear and tear from everyday life can compound the pain making it more difficult to stay active. Swelling due to accumulation of fluid in the knee can lead to pain and is one of the most common symptoms of knee arthritis or soft tissue injury in the knee.

If you have knee pain from an old injury, relief starts by ensuring you maintain a healthy body weight and emphasizing strength training – particularly in muscles around the knee – to protect the joint. It’s also more important than ever to incorporate low-impact exercise into your routine. Great options include biking, rowing, swimming, yoga and Pilates. By keeping multiple fitness goals in mind, such as strength, flexibility and cardiovascular fitness, you’ll be putting your whole body in a better position to stay healthy and be active.

But if you feel like you’ve been masking the symptoms of nagging knee pain with NSAIDs like Advil or meloxicam for far too long, it might be time for a visit to your orthopedic specialist. They can help you determine if an injection of cortisone or synthetic joint fluid can ease the pain, or if you need debris like damaged cartilage or bone removed from the joint. For some, knee reconstruction or replacement might be the best option as both procedures bring very effective and lasting relief without the massive recovery time you might recall from decades ago.

Preventing future injury

While there may not be many good ways to prevent the progression of arthritis and knee pain that comes years after an injury, you can still minimize future joint pain by working hard to prevent injuries today. Remember these tips:

  • Always warm up to get your body loose and ready to work.
  • Stretch before and especially after each workout or sports activity.
  • Make smart decisions about participating in contact sports – always wear the proper gear and try to minimize hard hits.
  • Listen to your body and don’t overdo it! Even if your competitive fire is at full strength, remember that your body may not heal as quickly or completely as it did years ago.

Knee Specialists

Dr. Mark Failinger

James Ferrari, MD

Dr. James Ferrari

Wayne Gersoff, MD

Dr. Wayne Gersoff

dr harold hunt denver co

Dr. Harold Hunt

Jared Michalson, MD

Dr. Jared Michalson

H. Andrew Motz, MD

Dr. Andy Motz

Cary Motz, MD

Dr. Cary Motz

John Papilion, MD

Dr. John Papilion

Scott Resig, MD

Dr. Scott Resig

R. Presley Swann, MD

Dr. Presely Swann

Rotator Cuff Tear

Not just an athlete’s problem: rotator cuff tears are more common than you think


Although also a common injury among athletes, rotator cuff tears are actually most common in people over 40; and age, in addition to family history and repetitive motion activities, are the top risk factors for a rotator cuff tear.

The injury is also a frequent topic of discussion with baseball and tennis players, who use repetitive arm motions that put these athletes at greater risk for a rotator cuff tear. However, even if you don’t play sports, other elements of your active lifestyle could be to blame.

Many jobs that involve physical labor and a repetitive motion – such as painting and carpentry – put wear and tear on the tendons, which can lead to degeneration and injury.

Surprisingly, not all rotator cuff tears cause pain or performance issues and some people are never diagnosed or treated. But for many others, shoulder pain or weakness is the first indication that something might be wrong. Discomfort typically increases with activity, and in particular movements that bring the arm above the shoulder. Oftentimes the only symptom may be pain when sleeping.

Your local orthopedic specialist can diagnose a rotator cuff tear by doing a thorough history and physical examination and considering your family and activity history. Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and will examine your shoulder and neck areas for tenderness, range of motion, strength and other indicators of a tear. Skilled orthopedics can rule out other issues such as arthritis or a pinched nerve. Your care team may also use diagnostic tools such as ultrasound, or MRI, which can often detect the size and location of a tear, which cannot be detected by X-ray.

Rotator Cuff Tear Treatment: An individual approach is key

Once a tear is confirmed, it’s time to focus on treatment options. “Every rotator cuff tear is different,” says Dr. James Ferrari, Advanced Orthopedic physician and shoulder specialist. “Our team of specialists focuses on a solution that maximizes the success for each patient, and gives them the best opportunity to get back to being active as soon as possible.”

In most cases, treatment for a rotator cuff tear means looking first at non-surgical options such as anti-inflammatory medication, ice, and local steroid injections, followed by a regimen of stretching and physical therapy. Partial thickness rotator cuff tears have the best chance of success with non-operative treatment. If non-surgical options do not provide relief, surgery may be the best option. Once a rotator cuff tear is a complete, full-thickness tear, it will not heal on its own. Full-thickness tears in younger patients almost always require surgery. Over time, full-thickness tears do get bigger, and surgical success is much better in smaller tears.

Rotator Cuff Tear Surgery

If surgery is necessary, many tears can now be repaired with an arthroscopic procedure, which is less invasive, allows for a more thorough evaluation of the entire shoulder during the procedure, and often provides for an easier, although not necessarily faster recovery. Your orthopedic specialist will provide you a comprehensive evaluation of the surgical options that can address your individual rotator cuff tear.


After surgery, proper rehabilitation is of paramount importance. It is a slow recovery as the tendon has to heal into the bone before active motion can begin. Overly aggressive rehab after surgery can be a cause of failure. In general, it is 6 months before the patient is cleared for all activities.


Prevention of rotator cuff tears and recurrent injuries begins with proper stretching and strengthening. Maintaining full motion, especially internal rotation (being able to reach up behind one’s back) helps prevent impingement of the rotator cuff by the overlying acromion bone. Strengthening the anterior and posterior rotator cuff muscles keeps the shoulder in the socket so the deltoid doesn’t overpower the rotator cuff. Other exercises to strengthen the chest and back also help balance the shoulder and prevent impingement.

Whether you have surgery or not, you may prevent a full blown rotator cuff tear by using proper form when exercising or competing, and by ensuring you incorporate rest into your routine if you are in a repetitive use situation at home or work.

Above all, if you have shoulder pain, get it check out so that you can get a diagnosis and limit further damage. Schedule an appointment with Dr. James Ferrari or one of our other shoulder specialists.



Tony M

Dr. Ferrari, first I want to thank you for performing surgery on my left shoulder and repairing the necessary items that created the major pain in my left shoulder.

Joe H

Dr. Ferrari has performed several surgeries on me, including two total shoulder replacements. He is excellent in every regard and has enabled me to return to relatively normal function in my shoulders. Thank you Dr. Ferrari!

Shawn A

Dr. Ferrari – There are certain times throughout your life when you have the opportunity to meet a truly gifted individual. Recently, I had arthroscopic surgery on my left knee. No matter how minor, surgery is surgery which comes with a level of anxiety. Hands down, Dr. Ferrari projected a feeling of calm and reassurance from the consultation appointment to post-op. Do yourself a favor, don’t shop around, spoil yourself, go for the best. Your tomorrow will be better for making the choice with Advanced Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Specialalists.

Lori D

Dear Dr. Ferrari, Thanks again for the incredible job you did on my broken shoulder. I’m back to my active life & just spent 3 days skiing deep powder in the trees at Steamboat Springs. My ski buddies are all amazed since they were with me when I broke it! They said that I haven’t slowed down a bit. I hope we don’t meet again in surgery, but, it’s good to know you are there if I need you!


Dr. Ferrari,

Just wanted to give you an update on my shoulder, and also thank you again for doing such a great job with my rotator cuff surgery. Since the last time I saw you, everything continued to progress well, and I played 3 baseball games. I only played 1B and never made any stressful throws. Not that this is medically relevant, but I have to tell you that I hit a bases loaded triple in my first game back!

Thanks again!