Rotator Cuff Injuries are remarkably common. Shoulder pain affects approximately one in five people. Just as significantly is the fact that rotator cuff symptoms are, by far, the most common cause of shoulder pain. So, if you have suffered a cuff injury, you are definitely not alone. There are a number of different causes of cuff injury or disease. This is a guide to the most common injuries and their cause:
A major trauma can affect the cuff. Any significant event can have a long lasting effect. For example, a car crash or a high impact sporting collision can cause a severe injury.
This will almost certainly have badly affected not only the cuff but the shoulder as a whole. Rotator cuff injuries of this type will, more often than not, require rotator cuff surgery to repair.
Trauma of this sort is the most common cause of cuff problems affecting younger people (those under 40). Thankfully they are still relatively rare events.
2. Rotator Cuff Tendonitis
The most common form of shoulder pain is, without doubt, tendonitis. Tendonitis is the irritation and inflammation of the tendons of the cuff. Tendonitis can be brought about by overuse of the shoulder. For example, it can occur in those who participate in such things as throwing sports or tennis.
In non-athletes there may be a history of recent heavy lifting or activities involving repetitive movements of the shoulder.
There is another, more complicated, form of tendonitis known as calcific tendonitis. This occurs when, due to long standing inflammation, calcium is deposited into the tendons. They are said to have become "calcified". This can be particularly painful!
3. Rotator Cuff Tendon Tear
Cuff tears are most common in people over the age of 40 years old. Not only that but there incidence increases with advancing age. A person of 80 is at significantly greater risk of having developed a tear than a person of 40.
A tendon tear can take two forms either a full or partial tear. The classification is based purely upon the amount of damage. A partial tear is a tear that does not extend right through the tendon. A full, or "full thickness" tear is when the entire tendon width is torn through. This is best seen using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Tendon tears of the cuff can have two distinct onsets; acute and chronic.
Acute is through a single identifiable onset such as a trauma.
Chronic develops gradually over time because of a general weakening. This could be caused by conditions such as tendonitis or impingement.
Impingement is the name given to a condition when cuff tendon gets trapped or squashed in the subacromial space. It generally affects the Supraspinatus tendon.
The tendon is repeatedly scraped against the shoulder blade and this can lead to a fraying of the tendon. This means that the tendon weakens and is more likely to tear. Impingement is a very common cause of other Rotator Cuff Injuries.
Impingement syndrome is often the result of a weakness of the rotator cuff muscles. This leads to a lack of stability in the shoulder which in turn allows the Humerus to ride up and close the space available to the tendon. It can also happen due to problems with the bone of the acromion, arthritis, bony spurs and problems with the bursa in the shoulder joint.
Steve Kaiser has used exercise to treat his own rotator cuff symptoms. Learn how you could do the same at Rotator Cuff Therapy Exercises.
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