Strained Rotator Cuff
The rotator cuff refers to the four tendons that connect the arm to the shoulder. The rotator cuff allows a wide range of movement of the arm. A strain or a tear with any of these can lead to problems with pain and mobility. This is a common sports injury, however, it may also be caused by accidents and blunt force trauma.
Strained Rotator Cuff Symptoms
There are many symptoms associated with the presence of a strained rotator cuff. Identifying these is necessary for emergency care procedures.
- Pain. There may be pain with movement of arm and even at rest. This is the main symptom of this type of sprain. For mild injuries, the pain can be much worse at night when the patient lies on the affected arm.
- Swelling. This can occur immediately following the injury. The affected shoulder could swell up so much that it can also affect movement.
- Loss of Movement. It is very common and the affected arm usually feels stiff. In instances where there is very little movement with the affected body part, it is known as a frozen shoulder.
- Weakness. Raising the arm or picking anything up can be a challenge. It could also be hard to extend the arm straight in front of the body, and raising the arm can be difficult, too. Moving the affected limb sideways can be difficult, too.
- Crepitus. This refers to a grating sound or sensation felt with movement. This is caused by bone rubbing against bone. It common where there are avulsion fractures or in severe sprains.
Strained Rotator Cuff Treatment
Following an injury, it is important to provide emergency care for the affected arm. Emergency treatment involves.
- Rest/Immobility. This is extremely important because it is what helps prevent further damage to the injured rotator cuff.
- Cold Compress/Ice. This is done for the benefit of pain relief. Pain medication may not be readily available in a first aid setting, so a cold compress can be used to help numb the affected area.
- Compression Bandage. This is done mainly to prevent swelling and also to help immobilize the arm.
- Elevation. Keep the patient in a semi-fowler’s position to keep the shoulder above the heart. This position helps facilitate lymph drainage and it can help prevent swelling of the affected limb.
After first aid has been administered and when the extent, severity, and involvement of the condition have been assessed, treatment is going to follow. Some of the common treatment methods for an injured rotator cuff include:
- Physical Therapy
- Pain Medication
- Anti-Inflammatory Medication
In severe cases, surgery may be a treatment option.