Today I will do what others won't, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can't. – Jerry Rice

What is rotator cuff injury?

The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles and tendons that help stabilise the shoulder joint and aid in movement. A strain or tear in these muscles is known as a rotator cuff injury. It destabilises the shoulder, causes a dull ache in the joint and worsens while sleeping on the same side. It occurs most often to people who repeatedly perform overhead motions or due to a single acute injury that causes a tear.

Possible Causes: 

The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that surrounds the shoulder and keeps your upper arm bone firmly within the socket of the shoulder.Injuries to the rotator cuff happen with repetitive overhead activity. Causes may be the result of either an injury to the shoulder or progressive degeneration of the tendon tissue.

Risk Factors:

 Factors that may increase your risk of having a rotator cuff injury:

  • Rotator cuff tears are most common in people older than 40 years.
  • Repetitive arm motions in sports like baseball, archery and tennis.
  • Occupations such as carpentry and painting require repetitive arm motions, that can damage the rotator cuff gradually.

Signs & Symptoms: 

Rotator cuff injury symptoms are:

  • A dull and deep ache in the shoulder.
  • Inability to sleep, particularly on the side of the affected shoulder.

Weakness in the arm and difficulty reaching behind your back or above shoulder level.

Diagnosis: 

A Medcare specialist will take your detailed medical history as well as any previous symptoms that may indicate a long-term issue. This is followed by a physical examination to inspect the shoulder for deformities or muscle wasting. Different tests are done to investigate which of the four muscles of the rotator cuff is injured or damaged. Further testing includes X-rays, MRI and ultrasonography.

Treatment Options: 

To know what the best treatment of rotator cuff injury is, consult a specialist at Medcare. Your treatment will involve rest, ice packs and physiotherapy to strengthen the muscles of the rotator cuff and to restore complete range of motion in the shoulder.

Other nonsurgical options include steroid injections to decrease swelling, associated inflammation and pain, therapeutic ultrasound, shockwave therapy, and dry needling. Rotator cuff tear surgery may be the only alternative if conservative treatments don't work or if there is a complete tear in the rotator cuff. The orthopaedic surgeon will address other issues if any, like cleaning up of bone spurs, repairing a labrum tear, relieving muscle or tendon impingement, or tightening the joint capsule. Arthroscopy or an open surgery may be done.

FAQs:الأسئلة الشائعة:
  • How can you get a rotator cuff injury?

    A: You get this when the tendon that connects the rotator cuff muscles to the ball part of the joint tears during a sport that requires you to constantly lift your hands over your head.

  • How long is a rotator cuff injury healing time, typically?

    A: While many patients recover from a rotator cuff injury within about 6-8 weeks, healing can take longer if the tendonitis is severe, up to a few months in some cases. Patients who are undergoing surgical repair have a faster speed of recovery. Older people and those with large rotator cuff tears may take a longer time to recover completely.

  • Are there any home remedies to treat this condition?

    A: You may apply an ice pack on the injured cuff and take rest. Anti-inflammatory medication is useful but It is always appropriate to check with your doctor. Rotator cuff injury exercises may also help you, but do consult your doctor or physiotherapist at Medcare to learn the right ones.

  • Can I prevent a rotator cuff injury?

    A: If you play a sport that involves repetitive arm motions, such as tennis or gym exercises, or if your work needs you to lift your arms overhead a lot, you may be at risk for rotator cuff injuries, and you should take care. Exercises that will stretch and strengthen the shoulder are important. Speak to your doctor to learn the exercises that are best for you.