Updated: Feb 16
Undoubtedly the most flexible joint in your body is your shoulder joint. It helps you rotate your arm 360 degrees in a full circular motion; something that's not possible to do with any other joint. As a result of being the most mobile joint, it’s also unstable. The ligaments, tendons and muscles around the shoulder joint, called the rotator cuff, help to make up for this tendency of instability.
When the rotator cuff gets injured, to avoid making the injury severe, it is advised to seek prompt treatment. Minor tears might be dealt with conservatively, yet a huge tear requires a medical procedure. Our experienced musculoskeletal and regenerative medicine specialist, pain management physician and orthopaedic surgeon at 1 Health Medical Centre work together to help you recover from a rotator cuff injury.
Who is at Risk for a Rotator Cuff Tear?
There are several conditions that can place you at increased risk for a rotator cuff tear.
Wear and tear of muscles, ligaments, and tendons increase with age and arise simply as a result of the normal ageing process. You’re at increased risk of a rotator cuff tear if you’re 60 or over. Such tears are most commonly found in senior citizens.
Overuse: Jobs Requiring Repetitive Overhead Arm Motions
If your job includes heavy physical work that utilizes overhead arm movements, you're more in danger of this kind of injury. Warehouse and factory workers, house painters, and construction workers are prone to developing this type of tear. In such cases, it tends to be a traumatic injury from a single incident or an overuse injury.
Overuse: Athletes using Overhead Arm Motions Repetitively
According to research, rotator cuff tears are a common source of pain for athletes, and could also be an end to their elite playing days for some. The continual throwing of the ball required for softball and basketball players, serving and swinging the racquet for tennis players, and spiking and serving the ball in volleyball all put extra stress on the shoulder joint. Even athletes who swim can fall prey to a rotator cuff tear because of the full range of motion that is needed.
Family history and gender
Genetics can also play a role in rotator cuff tears. A major factor that makes individuals more prone to injury is their respective family history. According to some studies, males are more likely to suffer from this type of injury. Rotator cuff injury is known to occur more frequently based on the type of sport or job one is engaged in.
Treatment of Rotator Cuff Tears
If you’ve been diagnosed with a rotator cuff tear that is not very severe, your physician will develop a treatment plan to help you recover. You’ll receive conservative treatment that likely includes anti-inflammatory medication, steroid injection, ice, rest, and physical therapy to help regain the range of motion. Plasma Rich Protein therapy may also be recommended for quicker recovery. Arthroscopic surgery can be recommended to repair the tear if surgery is required.
If you are looking for expert treatment of your rotator cuff injury, or for any of your musculoskeletal needs, call on 1 Health Medical Centre to get a detailed diagnosis and treatment plan from our expert orthopaedics team.