What is the rotator cuff and what are common injuries?

Your shoulders help you every day in performing normal tasks. They are also used heavily in certain sports and activities, including tennis or baseball. Individuals who are active in these types of sports may be at a much higher risk of developing rotator cuff injuries if they are not training properly and are not careful in performing certain motions correctly.

What is the rotator cuff?

Drs. Peter Holmes and Kathren McCarty of Sports, Occupational, and Knee Surgery in San Antonio and Schertz, Texas describe the rotator cuff as the shoulder joint that allows for the largest range of motion than any other joint in the body. This joint includes several muscles and tendons that can be easily damaged or injured with certain overhead arm movements. Repetitive overhead arm movements can even result in the degeneration of the tendon and cause tears or injuries that may become extremely painful. Many patients will hear of a “torn rotator cuff” which may be due to:

  • Chronic overuse
  • Acute injury/trauma
  • Degeneration
  • Contributing issues including tendonitis and impingement

What symptoms will I experience if I have a rotator cuff tear or injury?

Common complaints seen in patients who have injured or worn out the rotator cuff may include:

  • Sharp shoulder pain
  • Tenderness of the shoulder
  • Weakness in the shoulder
  • Inflammation
  • Pain during lifting or carrying items
  • Radiation of pain down to the elbow
  • Pain and discomfort at night while lying down

How is a rotator cuff injury diagnosed?

To determine the extent of rotator cuff injury, the doctors of Sports, Occupational, and Knee Surgery will evaluate the shoulder joint to look for weakness, deformities, or muscle impact. This is often done with x-rays or MRIs to provide visual information to the doctor for a proper diagnosis.

Discuss your orthopedic needs with Drs. Peter Holmes and Kathren McCarty

San Antonio and Schertz, TX area patients who are in need of orthopedic care in the area are welcome to book a consultation visit with our team at Sports, Occupational and Knee Surgery. Our providers are here to help with a wide range of injuries and problems that impact the body due to sports or daily living. We have two convenient locations and can be reached at our main line at (210) 696-9000.