The rotator cuff is an important grouping of tendons in your shoulder that is responsible for almost all types of movement that involve the shoulder. Since the four primary muscles that make up the rotator cuff are essential for many of the movements that you will complete in the course of your daily life, any injuries or tearing of them can cause significant impairment and pain.
Unfortunately, rotator cuff injuries are relatively common and can occur for a wide variety of reasons. In some cases, these injuries require little more than rest and time off from activities that use the muscles extensively. However, more severe injuries will require surgery.
How Does a Rotator Cuff Become Injured?
In most cases, a rotator cuff injury is caused by overuse or strain. These strains are common when participating in sporting activities such as volleyball or baseball. These types of injuries become more prevalent as people age, though anyone can experience a rotator cuff injury. Other things that increase the likelihood of being injured in this way include poor biomechanics and muscle degradation.
Rotator cuff injuries are also more common if you have previously dislocated your shoulder or if you have had rotator cuff issues in the past.
What Are the Symptoms Of A Rotator Cuff Injury?
The most common symptom of a rotator cuff injury is pain in the shoulder that comes on gradually. Most patients with this condition do not typically experience or recall a specific event that triggered the injury. Instead, rotator cuff injuries develop slowly over time (usually days or even weeks).
The pain of this type of injury is usually present even when your shoulder is not moving. Once this group of tendons is injured, the strain tends to persist even if while you are at rest. If you continue to use your arm and shoulder, the injury can become much worse. This is especially true if you are attempting to do activities that heavily rely on these tendons, such as throwing a baseball or swimming with an overhead stroke. When you press on your shoulder, you may also notice that it is enlarged or tender. Creaking sensations are also common, especially when you attempt to move your shoulder.
In cases of a torn rotator cuff, the pain will be much more severe. This kind of pain can also come on suddenly. Such injuries are often accompanied by a snapping or cracking sensation or sound and need to be treated as soon as possible.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Rotator Cuff Injuries
Your physician will run several tests to confirm that your rotator cuff is injured. These tests will help to determine the severity of the injury which will inform the course of treatment for you. These tests will likely include a physical examination in addition to X-rays, MRI scans, and ultrasound testing.
Once the extent of your rotator cuff injury has been confirmed, your treatment may fall on the conservative or the more invasive side. Physiotherapy, rest, and NSAIDs are sometimes adequate to allow the muscle to heal and to restore your range of motion. In the case of tearing, surgery is sometimes required to initiate the healing process. Through treatment, you can expect that your pain will be reduced and the functionality of your shoulder will be restored.
If your have suffered a rotator cuff injury and it is interfering with your ability to do the things that you want to do, then discuss your situation with your health care provider right away. After consultation with your health care provider, the team at Synergy Orthopedics will be able to provide you with high-quality orthopedic products to facilitate your healing and recovery process.
Synergy Orthopedics is a Medicare accredited company, as well as, independently accredited by the BOC Accreditation. At Synergy we take great pride in our Highly Rated Status as an accredited provider.