What is a rotator cuff injury?
It is a group of four muscles and ligaments that help steady the shoulder. They play an integral part in the movement of our shoulders. You use your rotator cuff every time you move your shoulder. Common injuries like strain, tendinitis, and bursitis are associated with rotator cuffs.
What causes it?
They are usually caused by overuse. The ligaments that connect the muscles to the bones usually overstretch causing a tear. Sometimes these can cause inflammation too. Instances like a hard fall, car accident, or a sudden injury can cause injuries to the rotator cuff.
What are the symptoms?
Very common injury symptoms include:
- Avoid activities related to the shoulder as it causes pain.
- Pain while sleeping on the affected shoulder.
- pain while raising your arms in the air.
- Pain in the shoulder in colder temperatures.
- Weak Shoulder.
How is it diagnosed?
The shoulder specialist uses your medical history, X-ray scans, and a physical examination to determine the extent of your rotator cuff injury. They may also enquire about any incident that may have caused it or even ask you about your daily schedule to determine the activity that may be causing this degradation of the rotator cuff. They might ask you to perform a few exercises to determine the possibility of conditions like arthritis. X-rays will give a clear image of any gaps in between the bones that must be causing friction between them and damaging the rotator cuff further.
How can it be treated?
One can always start with giving the arm complete rest and if the condition persists then your doctor might recommend you undergo surgery. As an injury to the rotator cuff deteriorates over time, it is advisable to treat it as soon as possible otherwise it may cause permanent damage too. However, surgery isn’t the only option when it comes to treating the rotator cuff. There are non-surgical treatments to heal your rotator cuff as well. A few ways are mentioned below:
- Putting cold packs (depending on the advice of your doctor) on the injured shoulder to reduce inflammation.
- Performing simple exercises to regain the shoulder’s range of motion.
- Taking injections at the shoulder help reduce inflammation of the shoulder and regain motion.
- Giving the arm support by isolating the arm in a string.
Rotator Cuff Injuries are very common in this world today but that does not mean you need to live with the pain. To live a pain-free life, contact us today to book a consultation with Saqsham Ortho’s shoulder specialist, Dr Reetadyuti Mukhopadhyay!