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Your rotator cuff is located in both of your shoulders. The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that attach the humerus (upper arm) to the scapula (shoulder blade).  The rotator cuff supples stability to the shoulder and enables the shoulder to rotate up and down. The rotator cuff is not just one muscle but it consists of four scapular muscles. These muscles/tendons are nicknamed SITS. The first “S” stands for Supraspinatus which helps the deltoid in abduction of arm. The “I” stands for Infraspinatus which modulates action of the deltoid and stops the humeral head from going upward. It also rotates the upper arm laterally. The “T” stands for Teres Minor   the upper arm by performing transverse abduction extension and transverse extension. The last “S” stands for Subscapularis and  prevent the humeral head from sliding upward as the arm is abducted. It also rotates the humerus medially. (Saladin,K.Sullivan,S.& Gan,C. 2015.p.295-296) 

 

A rotator cuff injury is a tear in any one of the muscle/tendons of SITS group. However the most common tendon to become affected with a tear is the Supraspinatus. This is caused by over use of the arm. The most common people to acquire a rotator cuff tear are painters, carpenters, baseball players, tennis players, weight lifters, and bowlers. Over use of the shoulder can cause swelling and irritation to the tendon which results in degeneration of the tendon and then can possibly rupture in reaction to moderate stress.(Saladin,K. Sullivan,S. & Gan, C. 2015. p.345).

 

There are two types of rotator cuff injuries, acute and chronic tears of the rotator cuff.  An acute rotator cuff tear may happen due to a fall or over use of the arm. Think painters/carpenters. An acute tear consists of a partial tear of the rotator cuff and only affects the soft tissue. A chronic rotator cuff tear occurs due to chronic over use of the arm, think baseball players and consists of a complete tear that splits the soft tissue into two pieces. Tendons sometimes tear off of the humerus bone where it is attached. The signs and symptoms of a rotator cuff tear are a deep dull pain in the affected shoulder. Pain when using the affected arm, especially when reaching for something. Sometimes the affected area may be warm to touch and slightly swollen. Usually a MRI, xray or ultrasound is needed to diagnose an acute or chronic rotator cuff injury. When it comes to treatment options there are different options to consider. Rest, heat/cold packs are the number one choice. Medications such as ibuprofen that can help with swelling of the muscle/tendon. Electrical stimulation that is performed by a physical therapist. If the tear is very serious and the other options have not helped then one might have to have surgical repair to the torn rotator cuff.(www.emdinehelath.com.,2014) 

 

WC 508

 

References:

Saldain,K.S.,Sullivan,S.J.& Gan, C.A. (2015) Anatomy & Physiology: The unity of form and function. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill

Rotator Cuff Injury. (2013) Retrived May 16, 2016 from www.emedinehealth.com

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