October 1, 2013

Rotator Cuff Syndrome/Tendonitis

No other joint is as complex or multi-functional as the shoulder joint, which is probably why it is open to so many injuries. Whether you are an avid tennis player, or an average Joe with a killer curve ball, when the shoulder or rotator cuff muscles are weak you open yourself to injuries that can have a long impact on your quality of life.

The rotator cuff muscles are comprised of a group of muscle that make up the Glenohumeral joint and help keep the head of the humerus (top of your arm) in the glenoid fossa of the scapula (the shoulder blade). The rotator cuff muscles consist of: the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis. The health of these muscles is imperative in a normal functioning shoulder. Once these muscles have been compromised by a fall, an awkward lifting motion, or repetitive motion-especially done overhead, symptoms can range from localized pain, pain with limited motion, clicking in the joint, and even joint instability (the feeling of the joint being loose).

Evaluation and a review of the problem by a trained clinician will allow the patient to know where the pain and symptoms are coming from. Diagnostic testing such as x-ray and MRI may be considered to better evaluate the problem. Non-operative treatment has been proven to help this condition when modifications of the patient are addressed. The key to resolving this condition are rest, when the area is inflamed or in its acute stage, pain and swelling control, and therapeutic exercises to target and strength the key muscles that are affected. Pain in the shoulder may also be the product of bursitis, a condition in which the bursa (a fluid filled sac present to help lubricate the joint) is inflamed causing pain.