How Do I Know If I Have Damaged My Rotator Cuff?

orthopedist in Allendale, NJ

How Do I Know If I Have Damaged My Rotator Cuff?

Written By Jacqueline Joyce

The human body hosts a network of highly complex systems. Each system works together to allow for proper functioning and movement. When you’ve been injured, your entire body can get thrown off. If you’ve sustained an injury to your rotator cuff, moving your arm and shoulder can become increasingly difficult. When you sustain damage to your rotator cuff, our team at New York Sports Medicine Institute is here to assist you in treatment and recovery. Our experts can also help you understand what led to the damage to your rotator cuff. 

What is the Rotator Cuff?

The rotator cuff is a system of four muscles that work to keep your shoulder in place. The rotator cuff prevents the humerus from disconnecting out of the shoulder socket when you move your arm. The anatomy of the rotator cuff makes it more susceptible to injury. Here are some of the most well-known rotator cuff injuries and their potential causes:

  • Rotator Cuff Tears or Strains – When the rotator cuff is pushed past its normal range of motion, painful strains and tears can occur. These injuries can affect the tendons that connect your muscles to your bones. Falls, accidents, or other traumatic events that lead to excessive force on the shoulder can cause strains or tears. 
  • Bursitis – The bursa provides cushioning to the areas between the bones, muscles, and tendons near the joints. When the bursa becomes inflamed and painful, bursitis is usually the result. Bursitis is a widely common overuse injury. 
  • Tendonitis – Tendonitis occurs when the rotator cuff tendon becomes inflamed. Like bursitis, overuse is the general cause of tendonitis. Athletes that perform repetitive motions like tennis or baseball players are more susceptible to this condition. 

Symptoms of Rotator Cuff Damage

Many individuals that experience pain in their shoulders can manage their symptoms and return to their usual activities over time. If you have experienced an injury to the rotator cuff, it’s vital to seek out treatment as soon as possible to avoid serious complications. Some of the indicators that you have rotator cuff damage can include the following: 

  • Dull aching in the shoulder. 
  • Stiffness or weakness in the shoulder muscles. 
  • Trouble sleeping on the affected side. 
  • Difficulty moving the arm or performing daily activities. 
  • Crackling sounds when you shift the arm. 

Knowing the signs of a damaged rotator cuff can make a difference in your recovery time. Our team would also like patients to be aware of certain risk factors so they can potentially avoid this injury. As previously mentioned, sports that require repetitive arm motions pose a greater risk of injury. Age and genetic disposition can also play a role in this injury. While athletes most commonly sustain this injury, those who work in occupations involving lots of overhead movements should also use caution at work to avoid strain and overuse. 

Without treatment, these issues can lead to permanent weakness or loss of motion. In severe cases, leaving these injuries untreated can result in progressive degeneration of the shoulder joint. Our team will assess your shoulder and develop a comprehensive treatment plan to tackle your problem head-on. We offer both conservative and surgical orthopedic treatments to help patients deal with rotator cuff injuries. 

Contact New York Sports Medicine Institute

At New York Sports Medicine Institute, our team is committed to providing our patients with quality orthopedic care to overcome any ailments that they may face. If you think that you have damaged your rotator cuff, it’s best to seek out our team as soon as possible. We will evaluate your condition and determine the best course of action to prevent long-term issues and speed up your recovery. Contact our office today to schedule an evaluation and get back to your full health as soon as possible. 



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