Often times clients come in with shoulder pain and say “I think I may have torn my rotator cuff.“
There are many injuries and condition that can effect your shoulder and it is always in your best interest to see your doctor if you suspect a rotator cuff injury.
Lets look at what the rotator cuff is…
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The rotator cuff is a group of tendons and muscles in the shoulder, connecting the upper arm (humerus) to the shoulder blade (scapula). The rotator cuff tendons provide stability to the shoulder; the muscles allow the shoulder to rotate.
The muscles in the rotator cuff include:
- Teres minor
Each muscle of the rotator cuff inserts at the scapula, and has a tendon that attaches to the humerus. Together, the tendons and other tissues form a cuff around the humerus.
Most often it is the Supraspinatus that gets torn, often at the tendon connecting to the humerus bone. What is the most common cause of a torn rotator?
Rotator cuff tears are very common. The older you are, the more common they are. Why is that? What is the cause of rotator cuff tears?
More than 40% of patients over 60 will have a rotator cuff tear and not even know it
Most people with shoulder pain who are found to have a rotator cuff tear on an MRI do not recall a single, isolated traumatic event. They may have felt a pop when moving their shoulder, but they didn’t fall or get into an accident. When we find a tear in this scenario the cause of the rotator cuff tear is usually “degenerative tendinosis”. Tendinosis is a condition when your rotator cuff tissue simply wore out. Like you favorite pair of blue jeans … or that sock you just poked your toe through. Trauma is another cause of rotator cuff tears, but traumatic tears are far less common then degenerative tears.
The most common cause of rotator cuff tears is degeneration of your rotator cuff tissue. It’s an unfortunate consequence of genetics, aging and our cumulative activities. Trauma can also cause the rotator cuff to tear.
Other conditions that may mimic a rotator cuff tear include
- Frozen Shoulder Syndrome
- Rotator Cuff Disease
Your shoulder is responsible for a wide range of motion and as such we tend to put a lot of daily stress and strain on it. Rotator injuries are very common and if caught and treated early you can prevent further damage and possibly avoid the need for surgery.