Everything you need to know about ROTATOR CUFF TEAR

Often many people use the word “Responsibility is on your shoulders.” It is used in the sense that our shoulders are strong and help to carry physical weight. Your shoulder joints act as a fulcrum, which provides the advantage to carry heavy weights and also perform overhead activities.

Late middle-age people are mostly found with rotator cuff injuries. But, rotator cuff injuries can happen at any age. Some doctors recommend surgery immediately to fix the damaged rotator cuff. However, surgery is not the only option always to treat the damaged rotator cuff. It can also be treated with the help of non-surgical treatment. To know more information about different treatment options, meet Dr. Ajay Kumar Tiwari, one of the best Orthopedic Surgeons in Hyderabad.

What is a Rotator cuff?

Your shoulder joint is a typical joint one and the most important one in your body. The joint comprises the humerus (upper arm bone) and the scapula(shoulder blade) joined by a ball and socket. A group of muscles and tendons surrounding the joint is called the rotator cuff. It keeps the head of your humerus firmly within the socket joint. The joint design allows you to reach out and rotate your hands in multiple directions. 

However, the complexity of the joint makes it vulnerable to damage. If your shoulder hurts on raising your hands up above your head or pain when you rotate your arm in any direction, then it indicates something is wrong with your shoulder. 

The joint capsule and labrum hold the humerus head, and the thick cartilage bands form elongated cones. Rotator cuffs muscles stabilize the joint and allows movement of the shoulder joint dynamically. They adjust the humeral head position and shoulder blades at the time of shoulder movements.

Anatomy of the Shoulder Rotator Cuff:

The muscles of the rotator cuff are connected anatomically to the shoulder blades. The below are the four muscles that make up the rotator cuff:

  • Supraspinatus: This muscle holds the humerus of the joint in place and keeps the upper arm stable. It is also responsible for lifting your arm.
  • Infraspinatus: This is the important muscle that helps you to rotate and extend your shoulder.
  • Teres minor: This is the smallest muscle in the rotator cuff, which arises from your shoulder blades’ lateral edge. The main function of this muscle is to assist the rotation of your arm away from the body.
  • Subscapularis: This muscle holds the upper arm bone to your shoulder blade. It is responsible for rotating your arm, holding it in a straight position, and lower it.

The four muscles of the rotator cuff act together to organise the shoulder joint. At the same time, performing certain movements, the rotator muscles of your cuff contract and stabilize your shoulder.

Rotator Cuff Injuries

Often. a rotator cuff tear is caused due to wear and tear of the muscles from daily use. If your job involves moving your arm in certain directions over and over, such as painter, carpenter, or if you play sports like tennis, cricket, and baseball, etc., then you are more likely to damage your rotator cuff muscles.

It might also happen suddenly when you fall on the hand or while lifting heavy objects. 

Tendinitis a condition that causes inflammation or irritation of the rotator cuff tendon that connects to a bone. It causes pain outside the joint in that area. Pitcher’s and swimmers commonly tend to have tendinitis.

Bursitis is a condition where the bursa (a small fluid sac that protects the rotator cuff) gets irritated. The condition happens if you move your shoulder in the same action over and over again, such as throwing a ball or lifting objects above your head. It might also happen due to an infection.

Tendinitis and bursitis conditions get better with some rest, ice and heat therapies, and pain relievers like aspirin or ibuprofen, etc.

Symptoms of rotator cuff injuries

Any of the four muscles in the rotator cuff may or may not show up the symptoms initially. However, the severity of the symptoms are based on the extent of the damage.

  • Shoulder and arm pain. The intensity of pain is increasing at night if you lie on your sore shoulder.
  • Pain when you move the arm in a certain direction. 
  • If the injury is acute, the pain will be severe and immediate.
  • If it is a degenerative injury (damage happens over time), the pain can be mild at first.
  • Swelling of the joint
  • Weakness and loss of function.
  • Clicking or popping sound if you move your arm
  • unable to lift objects normally as you do

When should you need to visit a doctor?

If you have a shoulder injury or suffering from chronic shoulder and arm pain, and if you stay in Hyderabad or near Hyderabad, it is the best idea to consult the best Shoulder surgeon in Hyderabad. 

They can diagnose the problem and provide proper treatment. The diagnostic tests include imaging tests like X-ray, MRI, or ultrasound. Diagnosis and treating the condition early can prevent symptoms and further damages.

Rotator Cuff Tear Treatment

A shoulder specialist prefers a combination of treatments, which include:

  • Physical therapy to improve the strength of your shoulder muscles
  • Medications such as acetaminophen to relieve from pain and anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce swelling
  • Stretching exercises to strengthen your shoulders are suggested to do at home. They can help you to use your shoulder in a comfortable way in everyday activities.
  • Rest your rotator cuff and let it heal
  • Steroid injections are given directly into your shoulder joint to facilitate relief from pain temporarily.

If nothing works, you may require surgery, particularly in case of a complete tear in the rotator cuff. It involves stitching the torn area together or reattach the tendon to your bone.

The surgeon removes some small pieces of tendon or bone which got stuck in the shoulder joint in some cases. Sometimes they are removed to give space more for the tendon to move.

Rotator cuff surgery:

Arthroscopic shoulder surgery: the surgery involves making a small incision in your shoulder, and then an arthroscope, a tiny tube with a camera head along with other tiny instruments, is inserted to fix the tear. The recovery time for this surgery is likely to be shorter compared to other types of surgery.

Open: Larger instruments are used by making a larger incision to access the damaged muscles of the shoulder to fix the tear.

Mini-Open: Here, both arthroscopic and open methods are used. The surgeon starts with an arthroscopic procedure and finishes with open surgery.

Tendon transfer. If the tendon in your shoulder is damaged too much to reattach, then the shoulder surgeon may take another nearby tendon and replaces it.

Shoulder replacement: If your rotator cuff tear is completely damaged, you may be suggested to have shoulder joint replacement surgery.

Dr. Ajay Tiwari, the best orthopedic surgeon, says a damaged rotator cuff can be repaired one way or the other. He has more than twelve years of experience in treating various joint problems. If you have any shoulder problems or other joint problems, book a consultation to get the best solution.

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