Rotator Cuff Injuries: A Primer

Posted on

Athletes such as basketball players need healthy arms, shoulders and hands in order to effectively play the game and score points. When in action, you spend plenty of time passing the ball to teammates while running. There is a lot of motion going on at odd angles as tendons, muscles and your rotator cuff move in sync to complete basketball moves. Over time, wear and tear occurs, and you could suffer a serious rotator cuff injury. Your sports medicine physician will thoroughly examine and run tests to determine the exact nature of your injury. Later, treatment will be designed for your specific rotator cuff injury.

Rotator Cuff Description

Your rotator cuff is a supporting structure of your shoulder. It consists of tendons and muscles that attach your arm to the shoulder joint. This enables your arm to move freely. The cuff, when injured, causes severe pain, and restriction of movement is limited. If you're in the middle of a game, timeout will be required so that the injury area can be treated with ice therapy. That's just a temporary treatment. In all likelihood, you will be pulled from the game if icing the injured area does not offer you relief.

Impingement Of Your Rotator Cuff

Stability and shoulder strength is maintained when your arm is above your head and leaning away from your body. Muscles and tendons control your arm when you point your hands upward. You suffer a rotator cuff impingement when a small bone spur touches the rotator cuff while you lift up your arm. This results in impingement of tendon tissue. You can suffer inflammation or partial tearing of the tendon. There is also the possibility that a full tearing of the tendon might have occurred.

Symptoms Of Rotator Cuff Impingement

Your sports medicine doctor will thoroughly examine the injury area and ask you pointed questions in order to help identify the exact problem. You may need to undergo an MRI if your doctor feels that you suffered a full rotator cuff tear. Perhaps you might have to undergo an X-ray procedure to determine whether you have rotator cuff disease. Those X-rays might identify bone spurs. X-rays also specifically rule out arthritis or other medical conditions that could be the source of your pain.

Treating Your Rotator Cuff Impingement

Your sports medicine physician generally treats rotator cuff impingement with rehabilitation processes such as physical therapy and home exercises for strengthening purposes. You may require prescribed medication therapy and possible injections. If you have a full tear and you do not have positive results from undergoing rehabilitation exercises, you may have to consider having rotator cuff repair. Your sports medicine doctor will help you to arrive at the best solution for your injury and then begin your individual treatment plan. Contact a company like Interior Alaska Orthopedic & Sports Medicine for more information.