All you need to know about Rotator Cuff Tears

By  david@ogrelogic.com  published  September 26, 2018

Rotator Cuff

The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons around the shoulder joint. They keep the head of the humerus (upper arm bone) secure in the shoulder socket. A shoulder injury can affect the rotator cuff, causing a dull ache in the shoulder, which may worsen when sleep on the affected side.

Rotator Cuff Tears

A rotator cuff tear is a common injury, in sports such as baseball, or in jobs such as cleaning windows. It can occur due to age-related wear and tear or overuse and repetitive motions. Your rotator cuff may also get injured if you fall on your arm or lift something heavy.

A rotator cuff tears can be partial (when the tendon is frayed) or complete (the tendon is pulled off the bone).

Rotator Cuff Tear Symptoms

A rotator cuff tear may present as –

  • trouble raising your arm
  • pain with certain arm movements
  • pain when you lie on the affected side
  • weakness in the shoulder
  • inability to lift things
  • clicking or popping sounds with arm movement

Left untreated, a torn rotator cuff can lead to a frozen shoulder or arthritis which is harder to treat.

Treatment for Rotator Cuff Tears

The orthopedic doctor would initially recommend –

  • physical therapy to strengthen shoulder muscles stronger
  • anti-inflammatory drugs to help with pain and swelling

Surgery may be required in some cases, especially if you have a complete tear. Surgery can be done to stitch together the torn area or reattach the tendon to the bone.

There are three types of rotator cuff surgery:

  • Arthroscopic or minimally invasive surgery
  • Open surgery
  • Mini-Open surgery that uses both arthroscopic and open methods
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