The rotator cuff refers to a group of muscles and tendons surrounding your shoulder joint. They work together to keep the top of your arm bone in the shoulder socket.
Athletes commonly experience rotator cuff injuries. The risk of injury to the rotator cuff also increases with age, affecting many individuals over the age of 60. People who work with their hands and engage in many overhead movements daily often end up with this type of injury.
Usually, rotator cuff injuries start with one injury that simply grows worse. These injuries are often long-lasting because people keep using the shoulder after they’re injured. Unfortunately, if the injury worsens, a rotator cuff tear could occur. Even if you feel you can manage the symptoms of a rotator cuff injury, it’s also recommended that you consult a physician to see if you need treatment to prevent further injury.
Symptoms of Rotator Cuff Injuries
Some of the symptoms of rotator cuff injuries may include:
- Pain that feels like a deep, dull ache in the shoulder area
- Difficulty sleeping due to pain
- Inability to perform over-the-shoulder activities, such as reaching behind your back or combing your hair
In some cases, arm weakness may accompany the pain, as well.
Risks and Causes
A few of the factors that often increase the risk that you’ll experience a rotator cuff injury include:
- Genetics – Rotator cuff injuries seem to occur more frequently among certain families, and it’s not uncommon to see these types of injuries appear suddenly.
- Age – The risk for rotator cuff injury increases as you grow older, and they are most common in individuals aged 60 and older.
- Heavy Work – Working in construction or in other types of jobs that require you to deal with heavy materials and do a lot of lifting may increase your risk, and it may aggravate or worsen pre existing rotator cuff injuries.
Treatments for Rotator Cuff Injuries
If you have the symptoms of a rotator cuff injury, it’s important to see your doctor. A physician will know best what’s needed to treat your injury. Some of the treatments that may be recommended include:
- Rest – Plenty of rest for the shoulder can give the surrounding tendons a chance to repair themselves, which may ease the pain.
- Using Hot/Cold Pads – Using hot or cold packs on the sore area may relieve some of the pain.
- Anti-inflammatory Medicines – Anti-inflammatory medicines help reduce swelling and pain.
- Cortisone Injections – Your doctor may recommend a cortisone injection if conservative treatments haven’t helped your pain. These shots may offer temporary relief.
- Surgery – In some cases, surgical intervention may be the best way to treat your rotator cuff injury, especially if it’s grown worse and resulted in a tear. Different types of surgical options are available, so talk to a physician about the best option for your injury.
Remember, managing this injury sooner rather than later is important, particularly if you’re older and this type of injury could become permanent.
Surgery at Prime
If you do require surgery for your rotator cuff injury, Prime Surgical Suites offers a state-of-the-art facility and elite surgeons skilled in cutting-edge procedures. With patient-focused care and the latest surgical technology, patients enjoy personalized treatment and faster recovery times.
At Prime Surgical Suites, we provide state-of-the-art, cost-effective musculoskeletal surgical care in a convenient and comfortable outpatient setting for patients of all ages. Located in RiverCrest Medical Park, we are the region's first outpatient center focused exclusively on orthopedics. Our physician-led center will help restore your active lifestyle and well-being with compassion and orthopedic excellence.