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Shoulder Rotator Cuff Tears Or Injuries

Common in the athletically inclined and aging alike, injuries to the shoulder cover a variety of different conditions. The two most common are those that occur in the space that exists between the shoulder bones. This narrow space is the location where both impingement syndrome, caused by pinching in the shoulder cuff, and rotator cuff tears, which occurs when damage is sustained by the tendon. Both of these conditions can coexist, and often it’s found that rotator cuff injuries are the result of impingement syndrome and the natural processes of aging.

 

The Inside Of The Shoulder

Of all the joints in the body, the shoulder is by far the most mobile and diverse, requiring an intricate system of structures to make possible the movements we use in everyday life. As any mechanic will tell you, the more moving parts a system contains, the more points of failure that exist and the less stable that system is. Within the shoulder, there are a few bones and a variety of structures comprised of soft tissue, including the ligaments, tendons, and muscles that come together to help secure the joint during its most extreme ranges of motion.

 

Impingement Syndrome: Between A Rock And A Hard Place

This painful condition occurs when the tendons and bursa become inflamed as a result of becoming pinched. Aggravated when the arm is raised, this condition is often the result of a minor injury, often caused by activities that include repetitive motion. Sometimes the condition occurs as a result of the shape of the acromion in certain individuals that make them more susceptible to shoulder impingement syndrome. There are three recognized grades of severity for Shoulder Impingement Syndrome:

  • Grade I: Typical inflammation of the tendons and bursa.
  • Grade II: When the bursa becomes scarred and thicker due to being repeatedly injured.
  • Grade III: Tearing and degeneration of the rotator cuff are evident at this stage.

 

Rotator Cuff Tears: When Warnings Go Unheeded

While it’s not impossible for a rotator cuff tear to occur without ongoing impingement syndrome, this remains one of its most common causes. Ongoing irritation due to shoulder impingement syndrome damages and weakens the tendons of the shoulder, ultimately causing lasting damage rather than mere irritation. The most commonly injured tendon is the tendon of the supraspinatus muscle due to its location beneath the acromion. Rotator cuff injuries tend to be asymptomatic, meaning there are no indicators that they exist until something goes wrong.

If you’re experiencing shoulder impingement syndrome or suspect that you may have rotator cuff tears, its time to stop in to see the friendly orthopedic specialists at Space Coast Orthopedic. Injuries like these can become more severe in time if left untreated, so don’t wait another minute to have them checked out. One phone call will have you scheduled with a consultation that can help ensure that you retain the full range of motion in your shoulder for years to come.