The shoulder is one of the most complex joints in the human body. It is the junction of 3 bones (the humerus, collarbone and scapula), 4 muscles (the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis) as well as tendons that surround the shoulder joint. The combination of the muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint are called the rotator cuff. When a rotator cuff injury happens, it can cause a lot of pain and reduce the function of the shoulder.
Causes of A Rotator Cuff Injury
Rotator cuff injuries happen either through an accident that causes significant damage to the shoulder or due to wear and tear from overuse. Repetitive movements over long periods of time can wear the rotator cuff down and cause injury. A lot of athletes who play baseball or tennis experience rotator cuff injuries because of the repetitive motions their sports require. The risk of getting a rotator cuff injury increases with age. It is more common to get rotator cuff injuries after the age of 40.
Patients who experience rotator cuff injuries experience dull or aching pain in the shoulder. This pain may be worse when pressure is put on the shoulder, such as when you sleep on it. Patients also experience weakness in the arm when lifting moderate to heavy objects or while doing daily chores like washing dishes. Another symptom of a rotator cuff injury is a decreased range of motion in the upper arm. For example, patients report having trouble doing activities like combing their hair.
Diagnosing A Rotator Cuff Injury
When you go to see an orthopedic physician about shoulder pain, he or she will perform a physical exam and get a detailed account of your symptoms. Your orthopedist will also check your shoulder’s range of motion. Your orthopedist may also order imaging tests such as x-rays, ultrasounds, and magnetic resonance images (MRI). The benefit of imaging tests is that they can show the presence of rotator cuff tears, partial tears, rotator cuff tendinosis, bursitis, and many other shoulder problems. This helps the orthopedist rule out conditions and get confirmation on the location and severity of the injury.
Rotator cuff injuries are treated based on the severity of the injury. For small injuries, rest, icing, and physical therapy are generally enough to heal the injury. Moderate rotator cuff injuries may be treated through steroid injections and physical therapy. In cases of severe rotator cuff injuries, your doctor may recommend surgery to fix the damage. After the surgery, your doctor will recommend physical therapy to strengthen the rotator cuff and bring the shoulder back to its full functionality.
Physical Therapy in Austin, TX
If you have shoulder pain and want to get relief, consider seeing the experts at Endeavor Physical Therapy & Wellness in Austin, Texas. The occupational and physical therapists at Endeavor Physical Therapy & Wellness have a wealth of experience dealing with rotator cuff injuries and would love to help you heal your injury. Make an appointment today by calling (512) 284-7192 or request a consultation online.