The shoulder is one of the most flexible joints in your body. It can comfortably rotate through two hundred and seventy degrees or more, depending on your level of physical fitness. Certainly, your shoulder needs this level of flexibility to perform all its functions effectively. The rotator cuff provides the flexibility needed using its four muscles that link the shoulder blade to the upper section of the arm. These four muscles, along with tendons, work together to strengthen and stabilise the shoulder joint. Essentially, a tear occurs when you rupture any muscle or tendon on the rotator cuff. Here is an overview of rotator cuff tears for more insight:
How to Detect a Torn Rotator Cuff
Torn rotator cuffs are easy to detect because your shoulder takes part in most movements of the body. For example, walking requires you to swing your hands slightly to maintain good balance and posture. As this happens, the shoulders adjust accordingly and you may feel some discomfort, pain or tingling sensations in case there of any ruptured muscles. Sharp pain or discomfort when lifting objects also indicate a torn rotator cuff. Lastly, you should look out for general loss of strength in the shoulder area.
Risk Factors for Tearing Your Rotator Cuff
The fact that shoulders are busy joints puts them at high risk of injury. Specifically, the rotator cuff is at a higher risk because it takes part in all the rotary motions of the joints. The following factors elevate the chances the tearing your rotator cuff:
- Lifting heavy weights during exercise.
- Falling on your shoulders during sports such as wrestling.
- Swinging your shoulders violently in sports such as discus.
What to Expect during Diagnosis
If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned earlier, it is advisable to seek medical attention ASAP. The doctor will examine the shoulder by pressing various sections of your shoulder gently. They will also rotate the shoulder in different directions to assess its flexibility. Moreover, the doctor can also use imaging tests to examine the inner parts of the joint. These tests include X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and ultrasound.
Treating Torn Rotator Cuffs
Minor ruptures of the rotator cuff aren't such a big concern. Resting, icing and physiotherapy are enough for the joint to regenerate. On the other hand, severe tears may require injections and surgery to repair the whole tendon. A physiotherapist then follows up with rehabilitative procedures so that you can recover fully.
Get in touch with a physio clinic for more information.