Rotator Cuff Injury

What is Rotator Cuff Injury?

The rotator cuff is a collection of tendons and muscles.  They surround the shoulder joint and keep the upper arm bone in place in the socket of the shoulder.  An injury to the rotator cuff can happen when people do the same overhead motions over and over again. Certain jobs and some sports athletes are more prone to Rotator Cuff injuries but they can happen to anyone.  They are more likely to happen as people get older. People can also get rotator cuff tears.

What are the Symptoms of Rotator Cuff Injury?

A rotator cuff injury is first noticed by pain and minimized motion.  Some describe it as a deep ache in the shoulder area.  If you lie on that shoulder, it can make sleep difficult.  Activities like reaching behind you or combing your hair can cause pain.  If you injure your rotator cuff you may also experience weakness in the affected arm.

How is a Rotator Cuff Injury Treated?

Treatments often start with ice, rest, and physical therapy.  Physical therapy often works to bring back strength and flexibility. This can also help eliminate pain. If the injury is more severe, your doctor will try other treatments.

One of the treatments that may be suggested is injections of steroids.  The steroids are injected right into the joint.  Surgery is a last resort.  Some of the types of surgery that are used for rotator cuff injuries include open tendon repair, tendon transfer, arthroscopic tendon repair, and shoulder replacement.

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Last Reviewed:
September 14, 2016
Last Updated:
August 23, 2017
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