Torn Rotator Cuff Injury

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Discover more about rotator cuff injuries and how they can be treated.

What is a torn rotator cuff injury?
Torn rotator cuffs are a painful injury occurring in the shoulder. The rotator cuff is a set of four muscles forming the tendons in the shoulder that enable lifting and rotation of your arm. Injuries to the rotator cuff can decrease your range of motion, cause sleep difficulties, or limit daily activities, such as combing your hair.

Causes of torn rotator cuff injuries
Over long periods of time, frequent heavy lifting or repetition of overhead activity can cause a torn rotator cuff. Shoulder injuries can also tear your rotator cuff. If you suddenly lose motion following a shoulder injury, you should see your doctor to find out if you have a torn rotator cuff. Finally, bone spurs located close to the shoulder can also damage the rotator cuff.

Symptoms of a torn rotator cuff
Symptoms of a torn rotator cuff injury can include:

  • Dull pain deep within the shoulder
  • Interrupted sleep, especially from lying on the injured shoulder
  • Difficulty with simple daily tasks, such as reaching behind you
  • Weakness in the arm
  • Crackling feelings in certain shoulder movements

Diagnosis of torn rotator cuffs
Talk to your doctor about diagnosing torn rotator cuff injury. The doctor will discuss your medical history and symptoms during an exam of your shoulder. Torn rotator cuff injuries often display a lack of mobility and/or weakness in the arm. You may be asked to demonstrate arm motion during the exam. X-rays or MRIs are commonly used to confirm diagnosis of a torn rotator cuff injury.

Risks of torn rotator cuff injuries
There are several factors that increase your chance of rotator cuff injuries:

  • Sports. In sports like baseball or tennis, repetitive arm motions can increase risk for torn rotator cuff injuries.
  • Occupation. Construction workers who perform carpentry or painting regularly over extended periods of time may contribute to the wear and tear of the rotator cuff.
  • Age. People over 40 have increased risk for torn rotator cuff injuries simply because of aging.

Treatment of Hemorrhoids
Torn rotator cuff injuries should be treated by a doctor. There is a risk of permanent damage, such as weakness or stiffness of the arm. Eventually that could progress into degeneration of the shoulder joint.

Non-surgical treatment of torn rotator cuff injuries can include:

  • Rest or limiting your arm mobility
  • Modifying activities that cause the pain
  • Over-the- counter anti-inflammatory drugs, such as naproxen or ibuprofen
  • Physical therapy
  • Cortisone injections

Severe torn rotator cuff injuries can require surgical treatment. If non-surgical treatment does not help or the symptoms last 6-12 months, surgery may be the best treatment option. Connective tissue within the join can thicken or tighten if the shoulder is immobile for an extended period of time. Continued therapy post- surgery is beneficial.

If you are interested in surgery for your torn rotator cuff injury, call us to schedule an appointment with one of our specialists.

Orthopedic Surgeons

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