Rotator Cuff Injuries: Types, Symptoms and Treatment


Experiencing a Shoulder Pain? A prolonged and a sharp shoulder pain may be an indication of a rotator cuff injury, and you must not delay visiting an orthopaedic specialist to get it resolved before you are compelled to go under the knife!

The 3 Common Types of Rotator Cuff Damage

A rotator cuff injury is caused as a result of an accidental trauma to the shoulder or due to progressive and degenerative wear and tear of muscles and tendons around the shoulder. Old age, certain sports, construction jobs and family history are certain groups of people who are prone to an increased risk of rotator cuff shoulder injury.

Here are the three most common types of rotator cuff injuries:

  • Rotator Cuff Tendinosis – Slow in progression, pain is usually in the upper arm, marked by terrible night pain and shoulder weakness. It often runs parallel to rotator cuff impingement and impingement syndrome, bone spur or partial tear.
  • Rotator Cuff Tendonitis – Common to sportspersons or due to overuse of shoulders. The pain can be mild to severe and can last for few short weeks.
  • Rotators cuff tears – very common, multiple injuries to the tendon, worn out rotator cuff over time. May be an acute rotator cuff tear/ as a result of trauma. Rotator cuff tears can be small, medium or large in size.

What are the symptoms of Rotator Cuff Injury?

If you haven’t visited your orthopaedic doctor yet, these can be some of the primitive indications of a rotator cuff damage:

  • You avoid certain easy-to-do activities, just because it will aggravate your shrieking shoulder pain.
  • You cannot sleep on the side of your affected shoulder.
  • You cannot do full arm swings (or medically, you lose your ‘range of motion’).
  • You cannot reach out to those overhead shelves.
  • If you try to move your hand, you may hear a ‘creaking’ or a ‘popping’ sound.
  • A feeling that your shoulders are no more in your control, and the weakness goes on increasing while doing strenuous activities.

What are the Treatment options for Rotator Cuff Injuries?

Mild rotator cuff injuries can be treated with PRICE therapy, at-home care, accompanied by physical exercises, while the swelling and pain can be managed with corticosteroid injections and prescribed pain killers. Small rotator cuff tears and other types of injuries shall heal over time on proper care. However, if the rotator cuff tears are large, you may have to go a arthroscopic shoulder surgery.

Your doctor will perform certain physical tests and ask you to go for an MRI, X-ray or an Ultrasound to get detailed pictures of your shoulders and the soft tissues around your shoulder (tendons, muscles and bursas). If you have a medium-large sized rotator cuff tear, your orthopaedic surgeon may ask you to go for a rotator cuff arthroscopic shoulder surgery or surgery through multiple small incisions. However, very large sized rotator cuff shoulder surgery may require an open surgery.

Whether you approach for a non-surgical or a surgical treatment for rotator cuff injury, make sure you take proper rest and give yourself necessary time of recovery to avoid frozen shoulder or permanent loss of range of motion.

Keywords/Tags : Orthopaedic Doctor, Orthopaedic Surgeon, Shoulder Pain, Shoulder Surgery, orthopaedic surgeon canberra, rotator cuff problems

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