March 01, 2017

Rotator cuff injury

Steps for shoulder pain

Rotator cuff injury

Shoulder pain caused by a rotator cuff injury isn't just a problem for baseball pitchers and athletes. In fact, older adults are the most likely to have rotator cuff injuries due to age-related changes in the tissues that make them more susceptible to injury. About half of people older than 50 have a partial thickness tear of a rotator cuff, many without any symptoms.

A rotator cuff injury doesn't just cause problems for your throwing arm or tennis swing. It can cause pain that interferes with sleep, and stiffness that can affect your ability to perform basic living tasks, such as putting on a shirt or reaching away from your body, such as for something in a cupboard.

You may not always be able to prevent shoulder injury, but you can take appropriate action if injury occurs. A key element of treatment is not letting a problem linger, since shoulder injuries can get worse if not cared for.

Cuff stuff

The shoulder joint is a complex ball-and-socket joint, with the ball part of the joint at the top of the arm bone (humerus) and the socket as part of the shoulder blade (scapula).

The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles that completely cover the shoulder joint from front to back. Tendons attach these muscles to the humerus and the shoulder blade.

The muscles and tendons of the rotator cuff work as a group to keep the shoulder's ball centered in its shallow socket. In addition, a small...