The rotator cuff largely comprises the shoulder joint; this joint consists of four muscles that meet as tendons that hold the ball joint of the arm in the socket of the shoulder. The bursa, a fluid-filled sac, allows the entire joint to move smoothly. Your rotator cuff gives your shoulder incredible range of motion and is the most flexible joint in your body. Damaging this joint can lead to serious problems, so it is important to be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of a rotator cuff injury and promptly seek care from an orthopedic surgeon or sports medicine specialist.
1. Shoulder Pain
Pain is the clearest indicator of a rotator cuff injury. You may notice pain as you try to move your arm or when you put pressure on your shoulder, especially if you sleep on your side. If the pain cannot be treated with over-the-counter pain killers or lasts for longer than a week, you should make an appointment to see a doctor or sports medicine specialist.
Another indicator of a rotator cuff injury is weakness. You will usually notice weakness in addition to shoulder pain. If lifting even small objects or simply combing your hair becomes a difficult activity, you may be dealing with a rotator cuff injury.
3. Limited Range of Motion
Like weakness, limited range of motion is often accompanied by shoulder pain. If you cannot extend your arm normally or are no longer able to reach in all directions, this is another sign of a rotator cuff injury.
4. Crackling Sensation
Known as crepitus, a crackling or popping sensation or sound when you move your arm means that your tissues are rubbing together abnormally. This is a good indicator of a serious injury, and you should contact an orthopedic specialist about your rotator cuff.
If you are experiencing these symptoms and believe your rotator cuff is injured, contact the orthopedic professionals at TOCA. We provide Phoenix and Scottsdale residents with orthopedic care and physical therapy. Call us today at (602) 639-4027.