Rotator Cuff Injury

The rotator cuff is made up of 4 muscles in the shoulder, the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis. An injury to this region includes any type of irritation, swelling, inflammation, or damage to the muscles or tendons.

Symptoms:

  • Pain - usually on top and in front of the shoulder that worsens with any overhead activity or exercise
  • Weakness that becomes apparent with arm overhead and/or pushing movements
  • Popping or crackling sensation in the shoulder
  • Unable to sleep on shoulder
  • Hot and burning sensation around shoulder area
  • Loss of range of motion
  • Inclination to keep the shoulder inactive or muscular guarding

Common causes:

  • Bursitis - the fluid-filled sac between the shoulder joint and rotator cuff tendons can become inflamed, causing the humerus to ride up and pinch the cuff
  • Overuse - repetitive or excess stress can cause a tendon or muscle to bruise, strain or tear
  • Poor Posture - slouching the neck and shoulders forward condenses the space where the rotator cuff muscles reside. This can result in pinching a muscle or tendon under the shoulder bones, or overstretching a muscle creating increased vulnerability for a muscle strain or tear
  • Tendinitis - tendons become inflamed due to misuse, overuse, or overload
  • Lifting or pulling - too heavy or improper lifting or pulling can strain or tear the tendons or muscles

Risk Factor:

  • Age - rotator cuff tears are most common in people older than 40
  • Athletics or Construction Trades - those who regularly use repetitive shoulder motions, most notably overhead motions during activities such as lifting overhead, tennis, baseball, swimming, and volleyball.
  • Poor Posture
  • Weak shoulder/scapular muscles