Explanation and Causes:

The shoulder joint has the most range of motion of any other joint in the body. To enable the shoulder in its wide range of motion, many tendons have to work hard to keep the shoulder in place throughout. These tendons make up the rotator cuff. They are flexible yet strong and help keep the upper arm attached to the scapula which makes up the shoulder. Most injuries to the rotator cuff stem from active repetitive motion like pitching a baseball. Eventually that repetitive stress wears down the tendons and they tear or rip. Other causes of rotator cuff injury include:

  • Breaking or catching yourself from falling
  • Athletics like football, swimming, tennis
  • Heavy lifting of weight over the head
  • Tendonitis
  • Bursitis
  • Normal wear and tear on the shoulder

Risks of this injury increase with age.

Symptoms:

Primary symptom is pain upon any movement of the shoulder up, backwards or forwards. Pain is intense especially when raising hand overhead. Weakness of shoulder, shoulder numbness, and a loss of range of motion are present for many different degrees of injury.

Diagnosis and Tests:

  • MRI
  • Ultrasound
  • X-ray
  • Arthroscopy to view injury

Treatment:

  • Ice shoulder 3-4 times a day for 15-20 min every time
  • Rest the shoulder. Stay away from any activity requiring you to put any pressure whatsoever on the shoulder.
  • Pain management through Ibuprofen or Naproxen
  • Physical therapy to restore full use
  • Steroid injections
  • Exercise therapy to restore previous range of motion and flexibility

Prevention:

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