A tear in the rotator cuff results when the tendons in the joint separate from the bone. It is not an uncommon injury and occurs in people of all ages. However, it usually happens to people over 40 who engage in continuous overhead movements from sports, work, or daily life. Muscles and tendon tissue become less elastic with age and more susceptible to a rotator cuff injury. Traumatic injury may also cause a torn rotator cuff.
The rotator cuff is comprised of four muscles and their tendons that control the function of the shoulder and connects the upper arm bone (humerus) with the shoulder blade (scapula). The rotator cuff helps to hold the ball of the humerus firmly into the shoulder socket. Furthermore, it works with the the deltoid muscle to make raising your arm possible.
Generalized pain in the shoulder is the most common symptom of a rotator cuff tear. This is often more severe at night. Depending on the severity of the damage, a loss of motion and strength in the shoulder can also result.
If the tear is minor, your treatment may include physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications and a cortisone injection. If the tear is significant, your shoulder specialist may recommend surgery.
Due to the most recent surgical advances, shoulder surgeons perform a torn rotator cuff repair arthroscopically through several tiny incisions. The surgeon works with small instruments including a miniaturized camera, while looking at the inside of the shoulder on a television monitor.