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Rotator Cuff Injuries

 
 

The rotator cuff is a group of 4 muscles that helps to lift your shoulder up over your head and also rotate it toward and away from your body. Unfortunately, it is also a group of muscles that is frequently injured by tears, tendonitis, impingement, bursitis, and strains. The major muscle that is usually involved is called the supraspinatus muscle.

Dr. Cady takes the care to help you rehabilitate your injured and painful shoulder without surgery whenever possible. Through a combination of soft tissue and joint treatment, he has had great success in rehabilitating even severe cases without surgery.

Rotator Cuff Problems are usually broken up into the following categories:

Rotator cuff tendonitis, also knows as "bursitis" or "impingement syndrome" occurs when the rotator cuff gets irritated on the undersurface of the acromion. The reason this begins in the first place is a source of some debate: Some people are born with a "hooked" acromion that will predispose them to this problem. Others have rotator cuff weakness that causes the humerus to ride up and pinch the cuff. This means that the bursa - a water-balloon type structure that acts as a cushion between the rotator cuff and acromion/humerus - gets inflamed:

A rotator cuff tear occurs when the tendonitis in the rotator cuff gets so bad that it wears a hole through the rotator cuff tendon. Since the tendon is what connects the rotator cuff muscle to your humerus bone, when the tendon is torn, you have weakness in the shoulder. Usually these tears occur in people who have had shoulder pain for some time (called a "chronic rotator cuff tear"). This is, by far, the most common type of rotator cuff tear.

However, tears sometimes happen in people who do not have a history of shoulder problems. These people try to lift something that is too heavy and feel a pop in their shoulder; usually with immediate pain (this is called an "acute rotator cuff tear").

Shoulder instability can be classified into two different types, dislocations and subluxations.

1. Dislocations. This happens when the head of the humerus completely pops out of the socket. The first few times this happens, it is usually with significant trauma (although some people can have these without any injury at all). After that, it can get easier and easier for the joint to dislocate. Most shoulder dislocations are anterior - this means that the ball pops out the front of the socket.

2. Subluxations. This is the feeling that the shoulder slips slightly out of socket, then immediately comes back in place. This often happens without any major trauma. Sometimes it happens in people who are very "loose-jointed". Sometimes these happen in just one direction (like out the front - "anterior"), and other times they happen out multiple directions - (e.g. front - anterior and back - posterior) - this is called "multidirectional instability".

Call us today at 408-739-2273 to make an appointment.