Rotator Cuff Injury
Your rotator cuff is the muscle group and tendons surrounding your shoulder joint that keeps your upper arm bone firmly in your shoulder’s socket. A rotator cuff injury requires immediate medical attention because your condition will degrade when using your injured arm. This type of injury is common in physically demanding jobs that require overhead motions, such as carpenters and house painters.
1. Arm weakness
2. Sleep disturbances
3. Combing your hair is difficult
4. A dull ache felt deep in your shoulder
5. Reaching for your back is difficult
When to see a doctor
You need to visit a doctor if your arm feels weak after you sustain the injury.
Rotator cuff injuries can be caused by the following:
1. Sustaining a shoulder injury
2. Moving in repetitive overhead motions
3. Lifting heavy objects frequently
1. Age is a factor because the older you are, the higher the chances of getting a rotator cuff injury.
2. Construction jobs such as house painting and carpentry require repetitive overhead movements, which causes rotator cuff injury.
3. Genetics may play a role in rotator cuff injuries. These types of injuries sometimes appear more often in certain families.
Strength exercises for your shoulders can decrease your chances of sustaining a rotator cuff injury. Work out your front chest muscles, upper arm, and shoulder muscles. Don’t forget to strengthen your back muscles for some extra balance. Enlist the help of a physical therapist or doctor to develop a safe exercise routine that helps you avoid injury.
Your doctor will press on the different parts of your shoulder and then move your arm to check different positions. Testing your muscle strength in your arm and shoulder is also part of your physical exam.
1. X-rays can be used to check for arthritis and bone spurs which may also be causing your painful symptoms.
2. Ultrasound uses sound waves to create images of the tendons, soft tissues, and muscles around your injury to assess issues as you move.
3. Magnetic resonance imaging uses radio waves and a magnet to create images that show all the different parts of your shoulder.
Plenty of treatment options are available for rotator cuff injuries, such as physical therapy and ice. More serious injuries require surgery to treat.
A steroid injection helps if your symptoms fail to improve after physical therapy and applying ice. This treatment is used when the pain interferes with your daily life and sleep. You need a doctor to monitor this treatment because it may cause your arm to get weaker.
Physical therapies are usually the first type of treatment recommended by your doctor. You will get exercises to rehabilitate your shoulder’s strength and flexibility. You also need physical therapy after surgery to recover properly.
● Arthroscopic tendon repair has your doctor insert a small camera and tools through a small incision to reattach your torn tendon to your bone.
● Open tendon repair has a larger incision used to reconnect your tendon to your bone.
● A Tendon transfer is done if your old tendon is too damaged to be reconnected to your bone. The doctor will use a nearby tendon to replace your old one.
● Shoulder replacement installs the ball part of your new artificial joint onto your shoulder blade. The socket is also installed onto your arm bone. This option is reserved for severe injuries.
Minor rotator cuff injuries often become less painful as it naturally recovers.
1. Applying ice to the injury may offer you pain relief.
2. You can take some over-the-counter pain relievers.
3. You must not do anything that causes shoulder pain.
4. Avoid overhead activities and heavy lifting while you’re in pain.