The rotator cuff is a group of tendons and muscles that covers the top of the upper arm bone, helping to hold the shoulder joint together. The structure allows the arm to rotate in the joint so you can throw a ball, pick an apple, or give someone a high five.
Some rotator cuff injuries are caused by a single, traumatic event, such as falling on an outstretched arm. Other times, rotator cuff damage occurs over months or years through sports and similar activities that involve overhead arm motions.
Rotator cuff injuries are sometimes associated with age. Individuals over 40, especially athletes and those who regularly do heavy lifting above the head, may have limited blood supply to their shoulders or develop bone spurs that rub and weaken the rotator cuff.
Signs you may have a mild or severe rotator cuff injury include:
- Persistent soreness over the outside of your shoulder and upper arm
- Pain that occurs or worsens with arm movement, specifically overhead activities or twisting arm motions
- Pain in your shoulder at night, especially when lying on the affected shoulder
- Weakness or pain when raising your arm above your head or doing overhead activities
- Decreased overall strength in your arm
- Inability to perform routine tasks, such as brushing hair, reaching for objects on shelves, etc.
- Extremely limited total range of motion in your shoulder
If you have any of the symptoms listed above, you may have a rotator cuff injury or you may be suffering from a different shoulder condition. A shoulder doctor will be able to assess your shoulder and provide a precise diagnosis as well as treatment options available to you, including the latest in nonsurgical care and minimally invasive procedures.
Our shoulder experts at Appalachian Orthopedics are dedicated to helping you repair and heal any shoulder damage you may be suffering from. To consult our experts, please call (423) 434-6300 or request an appointment online.