Chronic instability of the humerus may traumatize the tendons
Repetitive overhead motion of the arm such as in:
Baseball (mainly pitching)
A risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting a disease or condition.
Risk factors for a rotator cuff injury include:
Age: 40 or older
Activities that involve repetitive overhead arm motion
Weakened shoulder muscles from inactivity
Recurrent, constant pain, particularly when reaching overhead
Pain at night that prevents you from sleeping
Shoulder muscle weakness, especially when lifting the arm
Popping or clicking sounds when the shoulder is moved
Limited range of motion in the shoulder joint
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and perform a physical exam. The doctor will carefully examine your shoulder. You will be asked to move your shoulder in several directions.
Arthrogram—dye is injected into the shoulder joint and then an x-ray or MRI is taken. The doctor will look for dye that leaks out of the joint, which may indicate a tendon tear.
scan—a test that uses a strong magnetic field and radio waves to make pictures of the inside of the shoulder. This will show bones and tendons, and is an excellent way to determine either large or small tears of the cuff.
Arthroscopy—a thin, lighted tube is inserted through a small incision in the shoulder to look at the structures inside the shoulder. Arthroscopy can also be used for treatment.
Ultrasound—a test that uses sound waves to examine the rotator cuff for inflammation or tears.
The treatment will depend on the extent of your injury, level of pain, and amount of immobility. The first step is usually a nonsurgical approach.
Rest—to help the shoulder heal. The doctor may recommend that you wear an arm sling to help rest the shoulder area.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)—to help control the pain if there is inflammation.
Corticosteroid injections—to help reduce swelling and pain.
Ice—to help reduce swelling and pain. Apply ice to shoulder area for 15 minutes, 3 to 4 times a day.
Physical therapy—to help decrease inflammation and restore strength and motion to the shoulder area.
This involves surgery on the bony structures that impinge the rotator cuff. It can be arthroscopic or open.
A small instrument is inserted into the shoulder and used to remove bone spurs or degenerated portions of the rotator cuff tendons. Lesser tears can be repaired during arthroscopy as well.
Mini-Open Repair with Arthroscopy
This combines arthroscopy with an incision in the shoulder joint. Through the incision, the doctor can suture larger tears in the tendons.
This is used to repair the injured tendon in more severe cases. A tissue transfer or a tendon graft can be done during surgery if the tear is too large to be closed together. In the most severe cases, a joint replacement may be necessary.
Depending on the extent of your injury, full recovery can take anywhere from 2 to 6 months, and sometimes longer.
If you are diagnosed with a rotator cuff injury, follow your doctor's
To reduce your chances of getting a rotator cuff injury:
Avoid overhead repetitive motion.
Avoid heavy lifting.
Exercise regularly to strengthen the muscles around the shoulder joint.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a