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Rotator Cuff Injury, 2 ThingsYou Need To Do


Most rotator cuff tears can be prevented. An injury to the shoulder can cause chronic inflammation that can weaken the rotator cuff over time. Persistent pain with certain activities and a loss of motion compared to the other side are signs that your shoulder does not move normally, and friction is irritating the tendons. In this state your rotator cuff is weaker and more susceptible to injury.


A Common Shoulder Injury


Reaching behind your seat to grab your purse, picking up something heavy while reaching forward, can put your rotator cuff at risk for a tear. Immediate pain and weakness are signs that you have injured your rotator cuff. You may have difficulty raising your arm above shoulder height. A fall onto your shoulder or onto an outstretched arm can cause an acute injury to the shoulder. If pain persists after 2 weeks and is not getting better it is time to have your shoulder checked.


Pain > 2 weeks? Get it checked.




Signs of a Rotator Cuff Injury


Pain at the front of the shoulder

Pain down the arm

Weakness and difficulty raising your arm

Loss of mobility

Drop arm, sensation of your arm giving way with pain when using it


What you should do...


Evaluation by an orthopedic specialist, such as a Physical Therapist


Have your shoulder evaluated. Assess your shoulder to make sure it moves normally. Is there a shoulder or scapular dyskinesia? If there is stiffness to the shoulder joint, shoulder blade, or rib cage and spine, then the shoulder and arm will not move correctly. This causes increased friction of the rotator cuff every time you raise your arm.




Shoulder Imaging with Diagnostic Ultrasound


Have your shoulder imaged with diagnostic ultrasound. Is there an injury to the tendons of the shoulder? Diagnostic ultrasound of the shoulder can be as accurate as an MRI.


A diagnostic ultrasound can help clinical decision making. Do you need further imaging? Is an orthopedic surgery consult necessary? In most cases conservative treatment will restore normal shoulder function.




Why diagnostic ultrasound?


  • Saves time and money
  • Ultrasound is fast and gives a lot of information to help clinical decision making
  • You can safely image the opposite side for comparison
  • No radiation
  • Accuracy that rivals MRI


Chronic shoulder pain? Get it checked.


Early treatment can prevent further damage and a possible future rotator cuff tear. Dry needling is a great treatment to reduce muscle pain and knots. Check out the link below to watch video on shoulder dry needling treatment.




Clinics that offer diagnostic ultrasound for the shoulder


The Family Practice

Cornerstone Physical Therapy

Alpenglow Family Medicine


Rotator Cuff Injury, 2 ThingsYou Need To Do