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Shoulder Replacement & Instability Surgery 

Shoulder Instability & Rotator Cuff Specialist for Athletes 

Whether you’ve sustained an injury like a rotator cuff tear or severe fracture, or you’re living with a condition that’s caused wear and tear in your shoulder such as rheumatoid or post-traumatic arthritis, a shoulder injury left unaddressed can soon become debilitating. If you’re an athlete, a severe shoulder injury or untreated condition can easily take you out of the game, but there’s more to fear than that: eventually, it can even get in the way of your performing daily tasks, such as getting dressed, brushing your teeth or getting a good night’s sleep.

Your shoulder is an extremely mobile joint that you rely on to complete a wide range of tasks every single day. Your shoulders even have an impact on your ability to move your hand, making them critical to your athletic activities, as well as the everyday tasks you need to complete at work and at home. If shoulder pain, discomfort or loss of mobility is getting in the way of your life as you want to live it, it’s time to visit Dr. Rytel for an accurate diagnosis and individualized, goal-oriented care.

No one should have to be sidelined from life or from sports by a shoulder injury or condition. That’s why Dr. Michael Rytel is proud to offer his services as one of the best orthopedic shoulder surgeons in Pittsburgh. If you need a shoulder specialist in Pittsburgh, PA who will diagnose your condition with accuracy and provide one-on-one, compassionate care from that point onward, don’t wait for your pain to worsen to make the call. Schedule your appointment with Dr. Rytel today.


Young lady having shoulder pain

Shoulder Instability Treatment in Pittsburgh, PA 

One of the most common ailments related to the shoulder that ends up causing athletes pain, discomfort and limited mobility is known as shoulder instability. Shoulder instability refers to an event in which your ligaments, labrum, or shoulder capsule -- the part which surrounds your shoulder joint -- becomes compromised, either stretching, tearing or detaching entirely from the rest of your shoulder. When this happens, the ball of your shoulder joint has room to leave its socket, resulting in instability.

Shoulder instability is often the result of chronic overuse, but it can also be caused by a sudden traumatic injury to your shoulder that has torn, detached or stretched its tissues. This is why shoulder instability affects athletes who play contact sports as well as those who are constantly throwing at high velocity or otherwise using their shoulders frequently. If you find that your shoulder is often in pain whenever you use it, it’s possible it has become unstable, and it’s time to consult Dr. Rytel for an X-ray exam to determine whether or not this is the cause.

When treating shoulder instability, Dr. Rytel can offer both surgical and non-surgical solutions depending on the severity of your injury. He will work directly with you to develop a treatment plan that will address your individual needs as a patient and leave you feeling comfortable with the way you’ve decided to move forward.

Top Rotator Cuff Specialist in Brackenridge, PA

Another common shoulder ailment affecting athletes that consistently throw at high speeds and frequencies, or athletes such as swimmers who are constantly rotating their shoulders to play their sport, is a rotator cuff injury. The term “rotator cuff” describes all of the various muscles and tendons surrounding your shoulder joint, all of which allow your upper arm to remain inside of your shoulder socket. If you’ve injured your rotator cuff, you may feel a constant ache in your shoulder that only becomes worse as you continue to use it.

Aside from people who play sports that require heavy shoulder use, people who are approaching age 50 and older are at a particularly high risk of developing a rotator cuff injury, especially those who work in extremely physical jobs that involve repeated overhead motions. While many patients with rotator cuff injuries have them as a result of wear and tear over time, your rotator cuff can also be severely damaged by a single traumatic injury.

Regardless of the reason for your rotator cuff injury, a visit with Dr. Rytel can help you determine the best course of action for your individual circumstance. A more minor rotator cuff injury may only require physical therapy, while a severe one may need surgery or even replacement to restore you to your full range of motion and relieve your chronic pain. As one of the best shoulder replacement surgeons in Pittsburgh, PA, Dr. Rytel will work directly alongside you to ensure that you’re comfortable with your treatment plan, and that it’s designed to meet your individual goals.


Meet Dr. Rytel!

Provider, Michael Rytel, MD

Michael Rytel, MD

Board Certified Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Specialist
['Orthopaedic Surgery', 'Sports Medicine']
['Brackenridge, PA', 'Shadyside, PA']

Frequently Asked Questions

Which conditions most often require shoulder surgery?

Shoulder injuries don’t always require surgery, but sometimes it is the only option for restoring you to your full range of motion and ending chronic pain. Some of the most common sports-related conditions that may require shoulder surgery include:

  • Torn rotator cuffs
  • Torn or damaged tendons in the biceps
  • Torn cartilage rings and ligaments
  • Shoulder instability
  • Shoulder impingement

Additionally, there are a number of non-sports-related conditions that may require shoulder surgery to correct. These include:

  • Arthritis of the collarbone
  • Bone spurs
  • Inflammation or damage caused by rheumatoid arthritis
  • Excess or loose shoulder tissue

Why might I need shoulder replacement surgery? 

While some patients might consider shoulder replacement an extreme solution, Dr. Rytel strongly recommends this procedure for certain patients who have struggled to achieve long-term pain relief and a return to normal, fully-mobile life. This includes patients who are living with the following conditions:

  • Post-traumatic arthritis of the shoulder
  • Severe rheumatoid arthritis of the shoulder
  • Osteonecrosis in the shoulder joint
  • A highly severe shoulder fracture

If you’ve been diagnosed with any of these conditions and have met little success with other treatments, please consider reaching out to Dr. Rytel to discuss shoulder replacement surgery today.

 Will I need physical therapy after my shoulder surgery?

The answer is yes, without exception! Physical therapy is essential to making a full, effective, and quick recovery after any orthopedic surgery, including surgery of the shoulder. This is especially true if your ultimate goal is to return to playing a sport after a sports-related injury. 

What can I do to speed up my shoulder surgery recovery time? 

The best way to ensure that you make a full, speedy recovery is to follow all instructions given to you by Dr. Rytel after your surgery, including fully completing all of your prescribed physical therapy sessions. It’s also helpful to perform exercises at home as instructed by Dr. Rytel, especially if your goal is to return to playing a particular sport. Exercises as suggested by an AAOS shoulder conditioning program are particularly helpful for those who have undergone shoulder surgery or total shoulder replacement.