Your shoulders enjoy an incredible range of motion, which is largely created by the amazing flexibility of your rotator cuff. Because of this large range, however, your rotator cuff is also prone to injury. At L&W Orthopaedics, Dr. Diane S. Litke specializes in treating and repairing rotator cuff problems for patients receiving care at Methodist Richardson Medical Center. If you want to regain the full use of your shoulders, call or book an appointment online.

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What is the rotator cuff?

In order to understand the role of your rotator cuff, it’s helpful to understand the anatomy of your shoulder. Your shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint where your upper arm meets your shoulder blade. Keeping these two connected is a group of four muscles that come together as tendons called your rotator cuff.

While your rotator cuff plays a most critical role in literally attaching your arm to your body, it’s also responsible for the range of motion of your arm.

What cause problems in the rotator cuff?

Most rotator cuff injuries develop over time as a result of repeated use. For example, any activity that involves your shoulder, such as throwing, or professions that require overhead use of your arm, like a painter, put tremendous strain on the muscles and tendons that make up your rotator cuff.

Compounding the repeated use is the fact that these connective tissues naturally weaken as you age. As a result, your rotator cuff may be more susceptible to tearing and fraying around the edges as you get older.

In extreme cases, these tears can lead to a full tear, or a complete separation of your rotator cuff from your humerus, or upper arm.

It’s worth mentioning that, while less common, if your rotator cuff tears because of an acute injury, you should seek immediate care.

What are the symptoms of rotator cuff injuries?

The most common symptoms of rotator cuff injuries are:

  • Pain, whether at rest or while using your shoulder
  • Weakness in your shoulder
  • Crepitus, which is a crackling sensation when you move your shoulder

Typically, these symptoms develop over time and, if caught early, can be successfully treated, preventing a full rotator cuff tear.

How are rotator cuff injuries treated?

If you see Dr. Litke at the first signs of pain and discomfort, she can treat your rotator cuff injury using noninvasive techniques, such as:

  • Rest
  • Physical therapy
  • Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications
  • Ice

For more serious tears, or tears that don’t improve, Dr. Litke has extensive experience making surgical repairs to your rotator cuff that restore the tendons and reattach them to the bones in your shoulder joint.

If you’re experiencing pain or a loss of range of motion in your shoulder, call L&W Orthopaedics or schedule a visit using theonline booking tool.