Rotator Cuff Injury
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Traumatic Injury Attorney. There are numerous ways that people can suffer a rotator cuff injury or a rotator cuff tear. While some people injure their rotator cuff through repeated motion in sports such as swimming and tennis, people can also injure their rotator cuff in a car accident.
What is a Rotator Cuff Injury?
For those who don’t know, the rotator cuff is a group of muscles that help to stabilize the shoulder as it rotates. Rotator cuff injuries can range markedly in severity. Simple inflammation typically develops from overuse. but rotator cuffs can also completely tear in traumatic injuries.
How are Rotator Cuff Injuries Caused?
People who spend a significant amount of time swinging their arm against resistance will develop a dull ache in their rotator cuff. This signifies the simple inflammation discussed above. The rotator cuff could completely tear in a severe injury that results from lifting extreme weights or traumatic events. One example of severe trauma is a serious auto accident. The shoulder could impact the window or door, leading to a complete rotator cuff tear or bone fractures.
The treatment options for rotator cuff injuries will depend on the pain and the severity of the injury. With simple inflammation, the shoulder may be placed in a splint to minimize motion. Patients may also receive an injection to relieve symptoms. If the rotator cuff has completely torn, patients may decide to go with physical therapy and rehabilitation after traumatic injuries. If all else fails, surgery may be necessary.
Complications of Rotator Cuff Injuries
The biggest complication that people could face from a rotator cuff injury is a permanent stiffening or loss of range of motion of the shoulder joint. The shoulder moves because the muscles of the rotator cuff are used on a regular basis. If the rotator cuff is torn, the muscles aren’t used and they could atrophy. This leads to a stiffening of the shoulder joint.
Other Structures Could be Damaged
The most important structures in the area of the shoulder are the nerves that make up the brachial plexus. While unlikely to develop in an overuse injury, a traumatic rotator cuff injury could lead to brachial plexus injuries. This could lead to a loss of function and sensation in the arm which requires immediate treatment.
The differential diagnosis for shoulder injuries includes:
- AC Joint Sprain
- Torn Labrum
- Scapula Fracture
- Clavicle Fracture
- Shoulder Bursitis
- Shoulder Dislocation
Prognosis of Rotator Cuff Injuries
The prognosis of a rotator cuff injury will depend on the severity. Rotator cuff inflammation typically has a favorable prognosis. An inflammation injury will require rest and occasional pain medication such as ibuprofen to recover. If the rotator cuff is completely torn, an MRI could help plan a treatment approach and grade the prognosis.
Not everyone with a rotator cuff injury will require surgery. Some patients have relatively minor injuries that don’t have any structural damage at all. For patients with complete rotator cuff tears, the possibility of surgery will be handled on a case by case basis. For elderly individuals who don’t play sports regularly, they may not need surgery to regain their desired level of function. For young individuals who desire to play sports on a high level, surgery is recommended to maximize the return of rotator cuff function.
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Sacramento Traumatic Injury Lawyers
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Traumatic Injury Attorney. Drivers and passengers injured in a car accident should call my office at (916) 921-6400 for friendly, free advice. I have a toll-free line for long-distance calls at (800) 404-5400.
I am a part of the California chapter of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. As some of the top trial lawyers in the country, we have won case verdicts and settlements worth more than 1 million dollars for past clients
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