What are the signs and symptoms of a rotator cuff injury?

The group of muscles and tendons that connect to the bones of the shoulder joint on both the left and right side of the body are known as the rotator cuffs. They allow the shoulders to move and hold the top part of the arm bone to the shoulder blade. The rotator cuff tendons actually go under a bony shoulder area on the way to the arm bone.

If these tendons become swollen through overexertion, they can affect the ability of the shoulder to move freely and pain free. This swelling is known as tendinitis and it has many causes including working with the arms in an overhead position for extended periods. This type of activity is quite common in the carpentry and house building industries. Tendinitis can also be caused by maintaining the arm in the exact same position for a long time such as when working on a computer. It can also develop while playing sports. Symptoms of tendinitis can include pain in the shoulder area that runs down the arm and ends before the elbow joint.

An even more serious injury to the rotator cuff is a rotator cuff tear. This can occur after a sudden motion, such as trying to lift a heavy object. It can also happen slowly over a long period of time. The two types of rotator cuff tears are a complete tear, where the tendon detaches from the bone, and a partial tear that never completely pulls away from the bone. Symptoms can include severe shoulder pain at night that may not be as severe during the day. It can also include pain that occurs with specific shoulder or arm movements.

Treatment for rotator cuff tendinitis can include physical therapy, the use of medicines known as NSAIDs and corticosteroids and cold compress therapy. Treatment for a torn rotator cuff can consist of physical therapy, rest and surgery, if necessary, to repair the tear. However, any Michigan worker who has suffered a workplace accident such as a rotator cuff injury while working may want to seek the advice of an experienced workplace accident attorney in order to investigate his or her legal options.

Source: www.nim.nih.gov, “Rotator cuff problems“, Accessed on July 6, 2015