Rotator Cuff Injury
An injury to the rotator cuff, the muscles and tendons that are fused together to make up the shoulder joint. These muscles and tendons connect the upper arm bone with the shoulder blade as well as help to hold the ball of the upper arm bone firmly in the shoulder socket.
This type of injury can include a tear or strain to one of the joint muscles as well as tendonitis of the rotator cuff.
A rotator cuff injury can result from direct blows to the shoulder, falling abnormally on an outstretched arm and repetitive, overhead motion of the arm causing wear and tear on the muscles and tendons of the shoulder joint.
Symptoms of a rotator cuff injury include pain and stiffness in the shoulder, loss of range of motion in the shoulder and muscle weakness.
Treatment procedures for a rotator cuff injury will depend on the extent of the injury and amount of immobility. If the injury is less severe, a nonsurgical approach is taken first. This includes prescribing the injured person anti-inflammatory and pain medications, injections to reduce pain and physical therapy to increase muscle movement and strength.
If the rotator cuff injury is more severe, surgical procedures can be taken. This can include such treatments as:
- Acromioplasty – A surgical procedure on the bones that impinge on the rotator cuff.
- Arthroscopy – A surgical procedure where a small instrument is inserted into the shoulder and removes bone spurs or degenerated portions of the rotator cuff tendons.
- Mini-Open Repair with Arthroscopy – A surgical procedure that uses arthroscopy to repair large tears in the muscles and tendons.
- Open Surgery – A surgical procedure used to repair the injured tendon in more severe cases. Surgery can include transferring tissue from one muscle to another if the tear is too large to be closed together. In the most severe cases, a joint replacement may be necessary.