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Definition

The rotator cuff is a group of tendons and muscles in the shoulder, connecting the upper arm (humerus) to the shoulder blade (scapula).

Rotator Cuff Tendinitis is a condition wherein the tendons and muscles which help move the shoulder joint are inflamed. It is most likely to occur in people who play strenuous sports such as swimming, tennis, baseball pitching, which require them to move their arms above their shoulders frequently.

The functionality of the shoulder is fully reversible after the treatment for Rotator Cuff Tendinitis is given and the joint regains full mobility.

Symptoms

The early symptoms of Rotator Cuff Tendinitis are mild but get worse over time and may persist for years to come, unless treated and managed in the right way. The following are the most common symptoms of Rotator Cuff Tendinitis:

  • Pain caused by lowering or raising your arm
  • Clicking sound while raising your arm
  • Pain, swelling on the front of your shoulder
  • Pain, swelling in the side of your arm
  • Pain forcing you to wake from sleep
  • Stiffness of the joint
  • Loss of mobility in the affected area
  • Pain while reaching behind your back

Risk Factors

You may be at risk for Rotator Cuff Tendinitis if you:

  • Play sports that need you to move your arms above your shoulder a lot, such as swimming, tennis or baseball pitching.
  • Have previously suffered a bad injury to the shoulder
  • Have previously suffered progressive degeneration of the tendon tissue

Diagnosis

Shoulder pain may be caused by a number of other conditions and this pain usually goes away without any special treatment. However, if you feel the loss of mobility after an injury, or you feel pain lasting longer than a few weeks, then medical attention must be sought, immediately.

Once you've met with your doctor, he will move your arms and shoulders in different directions to see where it hurts the most and how of much of an impact the rotator tendinitis has had. He will also check the strength of the muscles around your shoulder. Depending on the effect and degree of pain and damage, the following tests may be prescribed:

Treatment

Treatment for Rotator Cuff Tendinitis can be divided into home treatments, medication, therapy and surgery.

Home treatment: Home treatments can include ample amount of rest and placing ice packs on the affected area.

Medication: Medication for Rotator Cuff Tendinitis include injections with mild doses of steroids to ease the pain, especially if it results in lack of sleep. However, these must be used judiciously so as to not weaken the tendon.

Therapy: Physical therapy is one of best known ways to treat Rotator Cuff Tendinitis as it can completely restore mobility after an injury without any surgery.

Surgery: Surgery for Rotator Cuff Tendinitis includes bone spur removal, open tendon repair, arthroscopic tendon repair, shoulder replacement and tendon transfer, depending on the degree of pain and immobility.

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