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Rotator Cuff Tear

The muscles and tendons of your rotator cuff help secure your shoulder and help move it as well. The rotator cuff can become inflamed or irritated (tendinitis) for a variety of reasons. If this irritation causes fraying or bruising, the joint will become weakened and painful. Overhead reaching may become difficult. Inflammation can also lead to a build up of calcium in the rotator cuff itself, which can inhibit movement and strength.

Severe tendinitis due to pinching (impingement) or degeneration or a traumatic fall can cause a partial or complete tear in the rotator cuff. This can result in shoulder pain, weakness and loss of normal movement.

Diagnosis

An MRI (magnetic resonance image) would be helpful in diagnosing a rotator cuff tear but a definitive clinical history and exam are of paramount importance.

Treatment

Treatment consists of a course of anti-inflammatories, icing, and gentle stretching and physical therapy exercises. Partial tears and chronic tendinitis may respond well to this conservative management, but occasionally, it is necessary to surgically repair a tear and debride tissue as necessary.

Find an Orthopedic Specialist

For help finding the right orthopedic specialist for you, call MidMichigan Health Line at 800-999-3199. 

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