Rotator Cuff Tears
The rotator cuff refers to a group of tendons that connect the four muscles of the upper shoulder to the bones. The strength of the cuff allows the muscles to lift and rotate the upper arm. The tendons run under the upper shoulder blade where they are very susceptible to injury.
A tear may result suddenly from a single traumatic event or develop gradually.
When patients present with rotator cuff tears, either to the tendons or muscles, they are unable to lift or rotate their arm with the same range of motion as before and also experience sever pain when using the arm. Pain is commonly felt at night and typically radiates down the arm.
Our osteopaths can help keep your shoulder strong and flexible and reduce the pain and weakness.
If symptoms persist or worsen, surgery may be required and you may be referred for an X-ray or MRI to confirm diagnosis.
As many patients will agree, a frozen shoulder is an extremely painful condition in which the shoulder completely or partially stiffens.
The lining of the shoulder joint, known as the ‘capsule’, is a very flexible elastic structure, giving the joint a huge range of motion.
If this capsule and its surrounding structures become inflamed and contracted then that elasticity is lost, and it leads to pain and stiffness.
Frozen shoulder can appear from nowhere or is triggered by a seemingly mild injury.
The return to full movement may take several years.
We recommend early diagnosis and osteopathic treatment to prevent further stiffness and increase the shoulder’s range of movement.
Patients who are suffering from subacromial impingement usually have difficulty in reaching behind their backs, and experience pain using the arm above their head. Their shoulder muscles are also weakened.
One of the rotator cuff muscles lies under the roof of the shoulder in a space known as the acromion. Between the tendons and the acromion is a fluid-filled sac which allows tendons to work comfortably when the arm is raised.
Simply put, if there is a subacromial impingement, the rotator cuff can’t work effectively, movement is impaired and it is very painful.
We see this condition linked to:
Sports Shoulder Injuries
Shoulder injuries are quite common in sport.
They include dislocations, Acromioclavicular joint (ACJ) injuries, the aforementioned rotator cuff injuries, labral tears, thrower’s shoulder, biceps injuries, bursitis and fractures.
Contact sports, such as rugby, tend to be more associated with dislocations and ACJ injuries,
while rotator cuff tears and biceps lesions are more common in heavy weight-lifting.
Fractures around the shoulder usually involve crashes or a fall from heights, for example in cycling or rock-climbing.
It can be hard to fully assess shoulder injuries because unfortunately a simple muscle strain can appear very similar to a more serious injury.
We advise early assessment from a doctor or osteopath, and in some cases we refer where necessary for x-rays and scans.
For more information about sporting injuries, please go to our sports injury page.