Shoulder Injury: Rotator Cuff Tear

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Shoulder Injury: Rotator Cuff Tear

The rotator cuff help to move and support the shoulder joint. It is made up of four muscles. Names of these muscles are supraspinatus, subscapularis, infraspinatus, and teres minor.  Injury to all or any of these four muscles can lead to surgery. Also, the ligaments that join these muscles to the bone can be damaged. These injuries can happen because of critical damage, gradual aging or chronic overuse. This injury can be very painful and can disable your range of motion and use of the shoulder joint.

The shoulder allows the arm to move in various directions because it is a ball-socket joint. It is made up many short and long bones. The upper end of the bone of the upper arm is called the humeral head. Humeral head fits into the glenoid fossa of the scapula which is also known as shoulder blade. The capsule and labrum together keep the humeral head in place. The humeral head fits into the elongated cone formed by thick bands of cartilage. The rotator cuff muscle fibers actively stabilize and make the shoulder joint move. The position of the humeral head and scapula is also adjusted by the rotator cuff muscles at the time of shoulder movement. As the scapula is anatomically associated with the rotator cuff muscles, any variations in the placement of the scapula with shoulder can affect the rotator cuff muscles and can cause difficulties in the movement of the shoulder. There are some other muscles also that help in stabilizing and moving the shoulder. These muscles are deltoid, coracobrachialis, teres major, pectoralis major and latissimus dorsi.

Damage to the rotator cuff can arise a variety of issues some of which are as follows.

  1. The injuries can cause severe spasms and the pain can limit the extent of movement of the shoulder.
  2. The small adjustments made by the muscles within the joint which allow the humeral head to move easily are stopped.
  3. Because the inflammation limits the movement, fluid get accumulated in the joint.
  4. The injury can adversely affect the rotator cuff muscles and the tendons that connect them to the bones. The tendons are present in the confined bony spaces, and any change in the movement of humerus and scapula can make these spaces even more narrow.
  5. Limited range of motion over time can cause Arthritis and calcium deposits in the joints. These deposits may happen in the tendons of the rotator cuff muscles or along the bony edges of the joint.
  6. The injury can be a mild strain or an inflammation of the muscle or tendon, the severity varies, but it can motivate partial or complete damage to one of the rotator cuff muscles. It might require surgery for rotator cuff repair in the near future.

If you keep using the shoulder and moving it despite having a rotator cuff tear and rising pain, you make the condition worse. A rotator cuff tear can get bigger with time. If you have persistent shoulder and arm pain you should go to see your doctor. If you get your treatment on time it can prevent you from further damage. It will also relieve you from pain and can get you back to your daily routine much faster. There are various options of treatment for rotator cuff tear and which is most suitable for you is dependent upon the patient. You can go for any treatment if it reduces the pain and restores the normal function. Your age, general health, activity level and the type of tear you have will be considered to decide your treatment. Many doctors first ask you to manage the rotator cuff tears with nonsurgical treatments such as physical therapy as even if the surgery is performed later on, it will not affect the overall results much. According to a survey, in nearly 80% of patients, nonsurgical treatment reduces the pain and restores the function in the shoulder. And if the physical therapy doesn’t work, you can always go for a surgery to get better results.

You have to manage your activity after the surgery. You are supposed to get up and move and should do some activities after surgery as prescribed by the doctor, but don’t overdo it.

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