Our shoulder joint is one of the most powerful joints as it is capable of lifting various objects and moving in multiple different directions. One of the most crucial parts of this joint is the rotator cuff as it helps in keeping the upper arm bone stable in the socket while moving it in different directions.
As this set of muscles is solely responsible to initiate the movement of the arm and maintain integrity, there is a high chance of rotator injuries due to overuse. This is the reason why athletes who are indulged in games like tennis, badminton, etc. are more prone to such injuries. Let’s discuss all the identification methods to check if the reason behind your shoulder pain is rotator cuff injury.
Rotator cuff injury- how it occurs?
A rotator cuff is a combination of 4 distinct tendons that starts from the humerus and runs along in the different segments of the joint to provide complete stability to the shoulder joint. Moreover, these tendons are tightly packed which leads to strength and stability. Whenever the shoulder tries to move beyond its limit, the tendons brushes with the bony structure called acromion or another tendon. This confrontation can lead to problems like rotator cuff injury.
A rotator cuff injury can be further divided into 3 categories:
Rotator cuff tendonitis:
It occurs when a tendon of the cuff is inflamed due to repetitive or overstretched movements
This shoulder problem develops due to the spreading of the inflammation in the shoulder bursae which is responsible for the lubrication of the cuff tendons
Rotator Cuff tear
It is related to a tear of the rotator cuff tendon due to trauma or tendon weakness
How to identify shoulder pain as a rotator cuff injury?
Checking out the symptoms
Experiencing sudden shoulder weakness after injury
After lifting something heavy or getting a hit on the shoulder, the person may suffer from extreme pain and may feel weakness in the affected area.
Check for the origin & intensity of the pain
Try to gently move your arm in different directions and observe the intensity & epicenter of pain. In case of minor injury, the person will experience dull pain. Try performing some overhead movements for this analysis.
Observe if there is an unusual sound
Raise your arm and check whether there is any popping or cracking sound occurring from the shoulder joint as it is an indication of an internal injury.
Pain at night
Usually, rotator cuff injury leads to pain that worsens at night and may even lead to sleepless nights. So check for pain during the nights as well. If you are suffering from consistent pain, there is a high chance that the reason for the pain is rotator cuff injury.
- Evaluating through various physical exams under medical supervision
- Diagnostic tests for clarity on the source of shoulder pain
Your medical expert may suggest you undergo some tests like X-rays to check the cause and other associated things that may play an important role in planning the treatment & rehab plan.