Rotator Cuff Repair Denver
What is a Rotator Cuff Tear?
Rotator cuff tears are one of the major causes of shoulder pain in the general population. Despite common belief, most rotator cuff tears are caused by degeneration of the tendons over time rather than by an acute injury from a fall or during sports. There are four muscles that make up the rotator cuff and each muscle has a specific function that assists in shoulder motion. If one or more of these muscles’ tendons are damaged or completely torn, pain, loss of motion, and significant weakness can result. The pain from a rotator cuff tear can be experienced in the front or back of the shoulder and may radiate down the outside of the upper arm. Some patients experience no pain associated with their rotator cuff tear, just weakness and/or loss of range of motion of the shoulder.
What is Rotator Cuff Impingement?
As the arm is raised up and overhead, the space between the acromion and the rotator cuff narrows, allowing the bony prominence of the acromion to impinge, or rub, on the rotator cuff and the fluid-filled bursa sac. With repeated overhead activities, progressing age, or an overly-prominent acromion (hooked acromion), the continual impingement of the acromion on the rotator cuff and bursa can cause pain or damage to the rotator cuff tendons and may also cause inflammation of the bursa, referred to as bursitis. The pain is usually located in the front of the shoulder and may radiate to the side of the upper arm. Impingement pain is typically minor in the beginning and may progress to severe pain that can be debilitating if the aggravating activities are continued and/or treatment is delayed. Lifting the arm in front of the body and overhead will usually elicit the pain making reaching for items above shoulder level difficult.