Rotator cuff tears often occur due to a sudden and forceful movement. Tendinopathy (tendonitis) can develop when there is frequent overhead movement of the arm. The tendon may not tear but can become very painful.
- A feeling of tearing in your shoulder with general weakness.
- Limited movement & severe pain can indicate a RC tear.
- Pain may also be present when lying on the affected shoulder.
- Tendonitis also causes mild to severe pain with the difficulty of elevating the arm.
The rotator cuff consists of four main muscles that stabilise the shoulder joint to allow controlled movement. Such muscles include the infraspinatus, supraspinatus, subscapularis and teres minor. These muscles interact to enable fine and gross motor skills and movement required to take place during activity.
- Rotator cuff muscle and tendon tears may take place during forceful swinging movements of the arm or uncontrolled force.
- Degenerative rotator cuff tears may also develop over time.
- Shoulder tendonitis is commonly associated with any sporting or daily activity that involves repetitive overhead actions such as tennis, swimming, gardening, painting and other DIY activities.
- Poor posture can also lead to inflammation of specific cuff tendons leading to similar symptoms.
Risks and complications:
If a rotator cuff injury is not treated promptly, the injury may gradually deteriorate and become more inflamed and painful. The range of movement of the shoulder will become more restricted with the possible development of a bone spur. A frozen shoulder may also develop if physiotherapy is not conducted at an early stage
Treatment to reduce the pain and inflammation is the first step of management. A gradual return to full activity will take place following a graded rehabilitation programme that may involve strengthening and proprioceptive exercises.
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