The rotator cuff is a part of the shoulder and includes several muscles and tendons that are attached to the shoulder joint. These muscles and ligaments are responsible for keeping the humorous bone within the socket of the shoulder. People who perform repeated overhead movements of their arms are at the highest risk of a rotator cuff tear. Playing baseball or tennis, painting walls and ceilings and installing overhead lights are some activities that could cause a tear in the rotator cuff. A person’s chances of getting a rotator cuff tear also increase with age.
Symptoms of a Rotator Cuff Tear
A person with a rotator cuff tear may have trouble lifting the affected arm above the head. Activities such as removing a tee shirt, changing a light bulb or combing the hair on the back of the head can be difficult. Sleeping may be uncomfortable on the affected shoulder. During an exam with the orthopedist, patients with a torn rotator cuff will demonstrate an inability to rotate the arm in a complete circle. Pain in the shoulder that lasts for more than a few weeks could be the result of a torn rotator cuff. Sudden pain that occurs right after an injury also suggests a torn rotator cuff.
Causes of Torn Rotator Cuffs
The most common cause of a torn rotator cuff is an injury to the shoulder or upper arm. This can be a result of a fall, an auto accident or athletic activities. Occupational injuries can also cause this condition. People with arthritis may be more likely to tear their rotator cuffs. Rotator cuff tears also tend to run in families, so there might be a genetic predisposition to this injury.
Treatment Options for a Torn Rotator Cuff
If intense pain results right after an injury, surgery might be the best option to repair the damage to the muscles and tendons. Some surgical procedures for rotator cuff injuries are time-sensitive, so it is important to get to the top orthopedic surgery center of Orange County as quickly as possible for a thorough evaluation. For mild to moderate tears of the rotator cuff, more conservative measures may repair the tissue damage. Injections of anti-inflammatory medications can help to reduce swelling and pain. Physical therapy is another helpful method that can help a person to regain strength and a full range of motion after an injury to a muscle or tendon in the shoulder.