Your shoulders are your most movable joints. They allow you to perform overhead movements and contribute to your upper body strength. If your shoulder joint is injured, your range of motion can be significantly limited. An injury to your rotator cuff, the tendons, and muscles that surround the joint, can impact your daily activities, too – especially if your work involves extensive shoulder use.
Do you feel constant shoulder pain but are not sure about the cause? Let’s talk about when to suspect a torn rotator cuff.
Causes and Risks Factors
The rotator cuff is the group of muscles and tendons connecting your upper arm bone to the shoulder socket. These tendons move in a constricted space and regularly experience friction. One of the nearby bones of the rotator cuff is the acromion, which can develop bone spurs. With an acromion bone spur, your rotator cuff may slide onto this bony knob and cause tears.
Injuries to the shoulder, such as falling on an outstretched arm, can also result in a torn rotator cuff. Rotator cuff tears are also common in individuals over 60 years, most likely due to the wear and tear of muscles as people age. In addition to age, a lack of adequate blood supply, which is essential for muscle repair, also contributes to degeneration. Genetics also pose a risk of rotator cuff tears.
Overhead motions narrow the moving space of the rotator cuff muscles. The repetitive or rough overhead motion of your shoulder can result in a rotator cuff tear. Occupations with constant overhead motions, such as carpentry and painting, are also risk factors. Athletes like swimmers and baseball pitchers are also susceptible to this condition.
Symptoms of a Torn Rotator Cuff
Signs of a rotator cuff tear include a dull, aching pain in your shoulder. Overhead motion or reaching behind your back can also trigger the pain. Because of this symptom, you may have difficulties moving your arm and shoulder, limiting your range of motion. The pain can also disturb your sleep, especially when you move and accidentally sleep on the injured shoulder’s side.
Another indication of a torn rotator cuff is when you hear or feel a clicking sound when you move your arm. Likewise, your shoulder and upper arm muscles may also feel weak and sore. These symptoms may vary in severity, depending on your specific condition.
When you experience these symptoms, it is essential to rest your shoulders for a while. However, don’t let it rest for too long, as prolonged immobility of the rotator cuff can tighten your tissues and cause more complications. If you suspect that you have a torn rotator cuff, it is best to consult with your doctor before your pain and condition worsen.
Similar Rotator Cuff Complications
One of the causes of torn rotator cuffs is friction, which can develop into other rotator cuff complications, such as rotator cuff tendonitis (inflamed tendon) and shoulder bursitis (inflamed bursa). In addition to repetitive movements, other factors such as infections can cause inflammation, too. Progressive tendonitis and bursitis may even cause tears in the rotator cuff.
Because of the differences in causes and risks, there are also specific treatment plans for each rotator cuff complication. Thus, it is best to consult with your doctor for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.
Rotator Cuff Treatment in Merriam, KS
A torn rotator cuff can result from a shoulder injury, inflammation, or degeneration. You may have a torn rotator cuff if you experience shoulder pain, muscle weakness, and a limited range of motion. Treatment for this condition involves medication, adequate rest, proper exercise through physical therapy, and surgery. You can avoid further complications by consulting an orthopedic specialist if you suspect you have a rotator cuff tear.
Here at Midwest Orthopaedics, we diagnose and treat torn rotator cuffs of all severities. You may visit our location in Merriam, Kansas, by requesting an appointment through our secure online form. If you have concerns or questions about our services, please call us at (913) 362-8317. Our friendly staff is eager to hear from you!