What Is Your Rotator Cuff | Common Causes of a Tear | Repairing a Rotator-Cuff Injury
A torn rotator cuff is an injury that’s fairly well-known, with nearly half a million people undergoing rotator-cuff surgery every year. What is your rotator cuff? What are the common causes of a rotator-cuff injury? What does rotator-cuff injury look like? What are your options for healing from such an injury?
What Is Your Rotator Cuff?
Your shoulder, with its ball-and-socket joint, is one of the most complex and highly used joints in your body. The rotator cuff is composed of a number of tendons in the ball-and-socket joint that provide support and allow your shoulder to have an extensive range of motion. The most common type of rotator-cuff injury is a tear in one of those tendons. The tear may be partial, where parts of the tendon are merely damaged or frayed, or it may be complete, where the tendon is separated from the bone or severed all the way through.
The Common Causes of a Torn Rotator Cuff
Rotator-cuff tears are often the result of traumatic injury, either in a motor vehicle accident or slip-and-fall. Sports-related rotator-cuff injuries occur in activities that require overhead movement of arms and hands, such as tennis, volleyball, baseball, football, and basketball. Individuals in construction jobs also are often at higher risk of rotator-cuff injury. The older you are, the more wear and tear you’ve put on your shoulders, and the greater your risk of rotator-cuff tear.
Treating a Torn Rotator Cuff
The telltale signs of rotator-cuff injury include a dull ache in your shoulder, the inability to raise your arms above your shoulder without pain, or any type of arm weakness. As a general rule, a torn rotator cuff requires some type of surgery, as your tendons won’t likely heal with rest. The most common and least invasive type of surgery is arthroscopic, where the surgeon makes a tiny incision, inserts a small camera into a tube, and repairs the damage with a laser. You may, however, require open-shoulder surgery, where the surgeon uses larger tools to cut into your shoulder and fix the tear.