Rotator cuff is a group of tendons that attach the forearm bone to the shoulder bone. It is useful in raising and rotating the arm.
Every time you move the shoulder, rotator cuff stabilizes and helps in the movement.
It is one of the mainly injured areas, and most common injuries include strains, bursitis , and tendinitis.
There are two types of rotator cuff tears, acute and degenerative tears.
- Acute tears occur while falling off on the outstretched arm or lifting something heavy with a jerking motion that could tear the rotator cuff.
- Degenerative tears occur from the wearing down of the tendon, which occurs with age or time. This kind of tears increase the likelihood of tear in the other shoulder too. They are caused by repetitive stress in sports and routine chores, lack of blood supply and growth of bone spurs.
What are the symptoms of rotator cuff injuries?
You will experience:
- Limited movement in the shoulder
- Dull to sharp pain while lying on the affected shoulder
- Pain when lifting something
- Sleeping difficulties
- Difficulty in doing house chores
- Weakness in the arm
- Crackling sounds when you move the shoulder
Rotator cuff tear treatment depends on the severity of the injury. Conservative treatments include physical rest, physiotherapy and ice compression. In case of a severe tear, you will need a surgery.
Conservative or non-surgical treatments improve symptoms, and they include:
- Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications (naproxen and ibuprofen)
- Cortisone injections at the affected site to decrease inflammation
- Hot and cold compress to the affected shoulder
- Rest and wearing a sling to restrict arm movement
- Physiotherapy to improve range of motion and restore strength
Surgical treatment is opted of the pain does not improve with the above methods. The torn rotator cuff is repaired and re-attached to the head of the upper arm bone with the tendon.