Our musculoskeletal system is a fundamental body part because it provides structure and support for the body, which enables movement and protects vital organs. Without it, we would be a pile of flesh on the ground. With this in mind, everyone is at risk of developing musculoskeletal problems at some point in their lives. However, some issues, such as a rotator cuff injury, could happen anytime.
A rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that surrounds and attaches the shoulder blade to the upper arm bone. These muscles and tendons help lift the arm, enabling bodily function. A rotator cuff injury occurs when these muscles and tendons are torn or damaged, compromising movement. While incredibly painful, not everyone knows the gravity of this condition.
More about Rotator Cuff Injuries
A rotator cuff injury is a common musculoskeletal injury that typically results from overuse or repetitive motion. However, there are cases when a sudden, traumatic event can also cause it.
There are four primary types of rotator cuff injuries:
The most common cause of a rotator cuff injury is repetitive stress, such as repetitive motions at work or playing a sport. Other causes include a fall, a direct blow to the shoulder, or lifting something heavy.
Who Is at Risk?
People who are at risk of rotator cuff injuries are usually:
Symptoms and Risk Factors
While a rotator cuff injury is relatively easy to spot, there's still a fine line because sometimes, what's thought to be the condition is often inflammation or tendonitis instead. Symptoms of a rotator cuff injury include:
On the other hand, the risk factors of a rotator cuff injury are as follows:
If you have a rotator cuff injury, you may develop the following complications:
What Happens If You Ignore a Rotator Cuff Injury?
If you ignore a rotator cuff injury, the damage to the tendons and muscles will continue to worsen. Eventually, the rotator cuff will tear completely, which will cause immense pain and make it difficult to move the arm. If the rotator cuff is not treated, it will continue to degenerate, and the shoulder joint will become increasingly unstable. This can lead to further damage to the cartilage and bones and may eventually require surgery to repair.
Treatment and Prevention
Treating a rotator cuff injury is essential to prevent further damage and pain. Early treatment may involve rest, ice, and anti-inflammatory medications. Physical therapy exercises may also be recommended to stretch and strengthen the muscles and tendons around the shoulder. In some cases, a corticosteroid injection may be necessary to reduce inflammation. If the rotator cuff is severely damaged, surgery is a last resort.
On the other hand, you can prevent rotator cuff injuries by:
Rotator cuff injuries are problematic because they can be extremely painful and restrict your ability to move your arm. You should see a doctor immediately if you think you have a rotator cuff injury. Treatment options vary depending on the severity of the injury, but what matters is that you get the help you need.
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