Rotator cuff injuries are common in athletes, but they can also occur in people who don’t participate in any sports. The injury is often the result of inflammation or tendonitis. If you’re wondering how to know when you have a Rotator Cuff Injury, we are here to help. At Mattalino Orthopaedic in Phoenix, AZ, we offer this treatment and can help you identify if you have this injury.
How Can You Tell When You Have a Rotator Cuff Injury?
Understand What It Is
A rotator cuff injury is a condition where the muscles and tendons in your shoulder are injured. This can make it difficult to sleep, raise your arms overhead, or even reach behind you for items on a high shelf. People who participate in sports that require lots of lifting, throwing, or pushing overhead may be at an increased risk of developing this injury.
Athletes such as baseball players, swimmers, and weight lifters often sustain this type of ligament damage due to repetitive movements involved with their sport. However, any person can have this problem if they do not take proper care of themselves, including doing exercises to strengthen the area properly before engaging in strenuous activities.
Signs and Symptoms of a Rotator Cuff Injury
If you have pain in your shoulder or neck, it may be a result of an injury to the rotator cuff. If so, some certain signs and symptoms will let you know for sure if this is what’s causing your discomfort:
Shoulder Has Become Weaker
If your shoulder has become much weaker and you’re finding it difficult to complete simple everyday tasks, such as opening a jar or carrying groceries into the house, then this could be due to an injury that is causing pain in your rotator cuff.
Shoulder Has Become Less Flexible
If your shoulder has become much less flexible and you’re having difficulty moving it in all directions, then this is another sign that something may be wrong with the rotator cuff. You should take an x-ray to see if there are any tears or damage to the tendons. If there isn’t, then it’s likely tendonitis causing the pain around your shoulder area. In either case, talk to our team at Mattalino Orthopaedic about getting treatment for these problems.
Pain at Rest and at Night
This type of injury can be excruciating and cause a lot of discomforts. If you’re having problems sleeping or even trying to get comfortable at night, then this is probably the result of tendonitis causing pain in your shoulder area. You may even feel pain when you’re at rest, such as reading a book or watching television.
Pain When Lifting and Lowering Your Arm With Specific Movements
You may also feel a great deal of pain when you lower or lift your arm with specific movements. For example, if you raise the arm overhead and then bring it back down to a normal position in front of yourself, this can be very painful. This is likely due to tendonitis causing inflammation around your shoulder area.
Crepitus or Crackling Sensation When Moving Your Shoulder
If you’re noticing a strange sensation in the shoulder when it is moved, then this may be due to inflammation of your tendons. It can feel like there’s something that cracks or pops when you move the joint around. This is not uncommon with rotator cuff tears and should go away once proper treatment has been administered.
What Causes Rotator Cuff Injury?
Several factors can contribute to a rotator cuff tear. However, the two leading causes are injury and degeneration:
If you are involved in sports that require repetitive movements, there is a chance of injury to the rotator cuff. This type of injury occurs over time and can be caused by throwing motions or lifting heavy objects overhead.
Older adults are more at risk for developing this type of injury, especially if they have been involved in physical labor throughout their life. This is due to the natural degeneration that begins as you age, affecting your tendons and other soft tissues around the shoulder area. Several factors contribute to degenerative rotator cuff tears:
If you’re involved in physical labor or repetitive movements, such as typing on a computer, there is more chance of developing a rotator cuff tear. It’s important to stretch and strengthen the muscles around this area so your shoulder doesn’t become weak and susceptible to these types of injuries.
Lack of Blood Supply
As we get older, the blood supply to our tendons reduces, decreasing the number of nutrients reaching these tissues. This can lead to injuries, inflammation, and ultimately degeneration or tearing of the rotator cuff tendon around the shoulder area.
As mentioned above, age plays a huge role when considering whether someone can develop tendonitis or other rotator cuff tears. If you are an older adult, there is more chance that something may be wrong with your tendons because they naturally wear down as you get older due to natural degeneration processes occurring within the body.
It’s also possible to develop bone spurs around the shoulder area, which can lead to pain and inflammation of your tendons. Bone spurs are bony projections that form along joints or on bones, which cause abnormal pressure points against surrounding tissues, such as muscles and tendons. This is often caused by calcium buildup in specific areas where there isn’t enough blood supply.
Treatment of a Rotator Cuff Injury
There are several treatment options available for rotator cuff injuries, but the main goal is to relieve the pain and inflammation of this area. The treatments can depend on whether you have a partial or complete tear in your tendon, so it’s important to consult with an experienced doctor before moving forward with any home remedies.
That said, arthroscopic surgery is usually the best treatment method for these injuries. It’s available for partial tears or full-thickness tears that have been present for an extended period.
Arthroscopic Surgery: What It Is and How It Works
This type of surgery is minimally invasive and doesn’t require any cutting, which means fewer risks are involved. The rotator cuff tendon is repaired during this procedure so it can heal correctly after being torn or damaged from injury. In addition to repairing the tendon, other tissues, such as blood vessels and muscles, can be addressed around the shoulder area during your specific case.
Arthroscopic surgery involves inserting a small camera into the body through an incision near where you feel pain in order to visualize internal structures like tendons, ligaments, nerves, etc. During this process, special tools will also be inserted into your arm, allowing doctors to repair any tears.
What Is the Recovery Time for Arthroscopic Rotator Cuff Surgery?
The amount of time it takes to recover from this type of surgery will depend on what level and how much damage has occurred. If you have a full-thickness tear, it’s best to be prepared for the recovery process because it can take four to six months before you can return to your everyday activities. However, if you have a partial tear, then it’s possible to recover within 1-3 months. It really depends on your specific case and how well you take care of yourself during the recovery process.
What To Expect After Arthroscopic Rotator Cuff Surgery?
After you’ve had this type of surgery, the doctor will give specific instructions on caring for the incisions. In most cases, it’s best to keep these areas as dry as possible until they are fully healed. We will also give you a sling or brace that should be worn whenever you aren’t using both arms. This is important because it prevents any shoulder movements from being made, allowing the area time to heal properly without re-injuring yourself.
Can Rotator Cuff Tear Repair Itself?
Unfortunately, most rotator cuff tears don’t heal on their own. These injuries require treatment for the tendon or muscle tissue to remain intact and for you to regain full stability and strength within your shoulders. This typically requires surgery unless there is a partial tear which doesn’t affect movement as much.
Schedule An Appointment Today!
Rotator cuff injury can be a harrowing and frustrating experience. However, if you know what to do and how to care for yourself, then it’s possible to get back on track within a few months. Visit us at Mattalino Orthopaedic in Phoenix, AZ, to learn more about rotator cuff tears and your treatment options.