A rotator cuff is a common shoulder injury that is seen in people who play sports like baseball, tennis, or any sport that involves a lot of upper body strength. It can also happen while performing jobs like painting or cleaning windows. It usually happens due to repeating the same shoulder movement over time causing normal wear and tear. A rotator cuff is a group of four muscles and tendons that help keep the shoulder stabilized, aiding in free movement. Every time we move our shoulder, we use the rotator cuff to stabilize and help and move the joint.
Rotator cuff tear can cause some most common injuries like strains, tendinitis, and bursitis.
Tendinitis is a kind of an injury that is caused by overuse of rotator cuff. As discussed earlier, it occurs due to repeating the same shoulder movement over a long period of time.
Bursitis is also a common rotator cuff injury. Bursitis is caused by the inflammation of Bursa. Bursa are the fluid filled sacs that are situated between the rotator cuff tendons and the underlying shoulder bone.
Rotator cuff strains or tears can be caused by overuse or acute injury. The tendons that connect the muscles overstretch, strain, or tear partially or completely due to a fall, accident, or sudden injury. Injuries like these can cause immense and immediate pain.
It is not always necessary that all rotator cuff injuries will cause pain. They can also be a result of degenerative conditions, which means the symptoms may start to appear months or even years after the damage has occurred.
Some of the common symptoms include:
– Difficulty in achieving full range of shoulder motion.
– Difficulty in sleeping on the affected shoulder.
– Trouble reaching behind the back or pain when reaching overhead.
If you are experiencing any of the above listed conditions for more than a week or experience losing function in your arm, consult a doctor.
The doctors might use specific physical exams, imaging scans to diagnose rotator cuff injuries, and ask you about your physical activities at the workplace. Questions like these will determine if the patient has an increased risk for a degenerative condition.
They will also test the arm’s range of motion and strength in order to rule out conditions like pinched nerve or arthritis. X-rays will help in determining if there is any sort bone spur that is rubbing against the rotator cuff.