The rotator cuff is a set of muscles and tendons in your shoulder that hold it in place. They also allow you to raise or lower your arm and rotate it. Your rotator cuff keeps your shoulder stable. Damage to a tendon or muscle is called a tear in the rotator cuff.
A tear can result from an injury or accident, a strong blow to the shoulder, or overuse of the shoulder. Tendons can be weakened over time from everyday use, which can increase the chances of getting a rotator cuff tear.
Symptoms can include pain, popping of the joint, pain with pressure on that side (such as when you’re sleeping), muscle weakness, and limited shoulder movement. Diagnosis will include a full examination, including an x-ray or MRI of the joint to find the possible tear.
Our doctors at Princeton Orthopaedic Associates will customize a treatment plan based on your overall health, your tolerance for certain medications and exercises, and the severity of your injury.
In many cases, a combination of resting the shoulder, the use of NSAIDs (anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen or Alleve), and stretching exercises. Ultrasound therapy and corticosteroid injections may be used for those with more severe pain. In extreme cases, surgery may be needed to repair the ligaments.