Your shoulder joint is the most flexible joint in your body. You can rotate your arm 360 degrees in a full circle motion; you can’t do that with any other joint. Because it’s the most mobile joint, it’s also unstable. The muscles, tendons, and ligaments around the shoulder joint, called the rotator cuff, help compensate for this tendency toward instability.
When the rotator cuff is injured, it’s important to seek prompt treatment so the injury doesn’t become more severe. Minor tears may be treated conservatively, but a significant tear requires surgery.
Our board-certified orthopedic surgeon, our musculoskeletal and regenerative medicine specialist, and our pain management physician at Urgently Ortho in Scottsdale, Arizona, work in tandem to help you recover from a rotator cuff tear if you sustain one.
Several conditions place you at increased risk for a rotator cuff tear.
Wear and tear on ligaments, tendons, and muscles increases with age; it’s simply a part of the normal aging process. If you’re 60 or over, you’re at increased risk of a rotator cuff tear. They’re most commonly found in senior citizens.
If your work involves heavy physical labor that uses overhead arm motions, you’re more at risk for this type of injury. Construction workers, house painters, roofers, and warehouse and factory workers are prone to developing this type of tear. In these cases, it can be an overuse injury or a traumatic injury from a single incident.
Research shows that rotator cuff tears are a common source of pain for athletes and, for some, an end to their elite playing days. The continual ball throwing required for baseball and softball players, swinging the racquet and serving for tennis players, and serving and spiking the ball in volleyball all place extra stress on the shoulder joint. Even the athlete who swims can sustain a rotator cuff tear because of the full range of motion required.
Genetics may play a role in rotator cuff tears. Family history could be a factor in making you more prone to the injury. Some studies indicate that males are more likely to sustain this type of injury, but that may be due to the types of jobs and sports in which they engage, in which rotator cuff injury occurs more frequently.
If you’re diagnosed with a rotator cuff tear and it’s not severe, your physician develops a treatment plan. You’ll receive conservative treatment that likely includes rest, ice, anti-inflammatory medication and/or a steroid injection, and physical therapy to help regain range of motion. You may also benefit from Plasma Rich Protein therapy. If surgery is required, arthroscopic surgery repairs the tear.
Call or send a message to Urgently Ortho for expert treatment of rotator cuff injury and for all of your musculoskeletal needs.