The rotator cuff or rotor cuff is a group of muscles and their tendons that perform the function of stabilizing the shoulder. It basically comprises four muscles which help in motion, stability, and strengthening of the shoulders. Damage to any or all four muscles and ligaments that attach these muscles to the bone can occur because of acute injury, chronic overuse, or gradual aging. This damage can cause significant pain and disability with the decreased range of motion and use of the shoulder joint. Injury to the rotator cuff majorly impacts one’s shoulder movements; everyday activities such as combing hair can also be extremely tasking with such tears and injuries.
The severity of injury may range from a mild strain and inflammation of the muscle or torn tendon to a partial or complete tear of the muscle that might require surgery for repair. The rotator cuff muscles can get damaged in different ways. Some damages can occur from acute injuries such as from a severe fall or accident, or from a chronic overuse of the muscle like throwing a ball or lifting objects- or levying excessive strain on the shoulder joints, or eventually from a gradual degeneration of the muscle and tendon that can occur with aging. This condition is often associated with age-bound diseases or conditions such as osteoporosis where the bone health depletes and damages joints.
Rotator cuff injury symptoms are shoulder pain, accompanied by inflammation and swelling. These symptoms further trigger certain disturbances such as the following:
- A dull aching pain, deep in the shoulder
- Disturbed sleep, particularly if you lie on the affected shoulder
- Routine activities such as combing your hair can become difficult as the hand cannot reach behind the back due to shoulder pain
- General arm weakness
Common symptoms can be listed as below:
- Tearing Sensation
A sudden tearing sensation followed by severe pain shooting from the upper shoulder area- both in front and in the back- down the arm toward the elbow is a common symptom experienced.
- Bleeding and Muscle Spasm
One also experiences acute pain from bleeding and muscle spasm. Although this tends to resolve in a few days, one should not ignore such symptoms and immediately consult a doctor. Such pain also decreases the shoulder’s range of motion.
- Inability to raise the arm from the side of the body
Large tears may cause the inability to raise the arm away from the body, towards the side, due to significant pain and loss of muscle power.
- Tender to touch
The skin may be tender to touch from the outside, and the shoulder area injured has a deep ache. When a rotator cuff tendon becomes inflamed, it runs the risk of losing its blood supply, causing some tendon fibers to die. This increases the risk that the tendon can fray and partially or completely tear. However, such depletion of muscle strength usually increases with age.
One must be watchful of such symptoms and immediately consult a doctor to treat their rotator cuff injuries. Experts at Apollo Spectra Hospitals have a culmination of physiotherapists, high definition arthroscopic systems, state-of-the-art physiotherapy & rehabilitation unit and a comprehensive pain management program along with advanced surgical procedures to treat sports injuries and rotator cuff injuries.
Notice these symptoms? Get your Rotator Cuff tested.