As people age, tendons and muscles deteriorate which makes them more prone to tearing. If you add strenuous physical activity to this equation, the chances for the pain and discomfort of a rotator cuff injury are increased. Athletes who participate in sports that put a lot of strain on the shoulder joint, such as baseball, tennis, and swimming, are highly prone to suffering from torn rotator cuffs.
The group of muscles and tendons that rise from the scapula, or shoulder bone, to the head of the humerus – the shoulder joint – appear to be pretty unstable. The head of the humerus, or arm bone, sits on the glenoid fossa, a part of the scapula, in much the same way that a golf ball sits on a golf tee. The rotator cuff stabilizes the shoulder-arm connection. Without it, your arm would simply dangle at your side.
In order to recognize whether or not you have suffered a rotator cuff injury, it is important to be aware of the symptoms. If you are starting to feel discomfort in your arm or shoulder, it is a good idea to review the following symptoms of a torn rotator cuff:
* Pain on the top or outer shoulder area
* Pain in the shoulder area at night
* Pain while raising the arm horizontally
* Pain while swinging the shoulder
* Pain while throwing objects
If you experience three or more of these symptoms, you may have a torn rotator cuff. If this is the case, you should see your doctor immediately.
As with all other injuries, acting quickly when you suspect a rotator cuff injury may make the difference between needing medication and needing surgery. When you first experience the symptoms, you should immediately begin administering first aid using the R.I.C.E. method:
* R – Rest (Cease movement of the injured area.)
* I – Ice (Apply ice to the injured area to reduce swelling.)
* C – Compress (Apply compression to the injury to stop internal and external bleeding.)
* E – Elevate (Elevate the injured area to lessen blood flow and reduce pain.)
R.I.C.E. should be used merely as a method of first aid and not as a treatment plan. Some rotator cuff injuries may deteriorate if they are left untreated, so it is important to see a medical professional as soon as possible. Administering R.I.C.E. can address many injuries, but it is always best to visit your doctor, especially if symptoms persist.
Source by David Perdew