The rotator cuff is a band of tendons which compose a portion of the shoulder joint. The rotator cuff is composed of tendons of the supraspinatous, infraspinatous, teres minor and subscapularis muscles. Rotator cuff tendonitis or tear is a very common disorder. It is often suggested by shoulder pain when they arm is elevated to the side. A rotator cuff tear, particularly if it severe, will make it difficult or impossible to maintain the arm lifted up 90 degrees.
Causes of Rotator Cuff Tendonitis
Tendonitis of the rotator cuff is thought to be caused by impingement on the tendons that form the rotator cuff. The supraspinatous tendon is the most commonly involved. Repeated trauma and repeated use can lead to edema and hemorrhage in the muscle and tendon. This eventually leads to scarring or fibrosis. Degeneration of the tendons produces tears and bone spurs. Impingement from the acromion process, which forms the roof of the shoulder joint or the acromioclavicular joint, between the collar bone and the shoulder blade, further narrows the space the tendons have to move. Bone spurs may develop off of these areas further compromising the tendons.
Signs and Symptoms of Rotator Cuff Tendonitis
It is common to have rotator cuff tendonitis concurrently with subacromial bursitis and impingement syndrome. Symptoms usually appear after over use of injury. Repeated elevation or forward flexion of the arm are the activities most likely to produce this syndrome. There is shoulder pain. Severe pain is felt when the arm is lifted into overhead position. There is tenderness over the outside of the shoulder joint. Weakness may occur in the arm, at least partly related to pain. Pain may radiate into the arm and into the neck.
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Medical Content Last Updated on 07/12/2008
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