All About Rotator Cuff Injuries: Risk Factors, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

Dec 12, 2022

The rotator cuff is a group of tendons and muscles that hold your shoulder in place. It gives the joint strength and stability, but over 3 million Americans suffer rotator cuff injuries each year — making it one of the most common orthopaedic injuries among adults of all ages.

When your rotator cuff gets damaged, it causes pain deep in your shoulder and limits your joint flexibility. If you’ve noticed shoulder pain, don’t ignore it. Turn to our orthopaedic specialists at Cascade Orthopaedics to find a solution that makes a difference in your daily life. 

Risk factors for rotator cuff injuries

Anyone can suffer a rotator cuff injury. While traumatic impact can damage your rotator cuff, most rotator cuff injuries develop slowly with daily wear-and-tear. Your risk of rotator cuff injury may be higher due to:

Getting older

Your body gradually deteriorates with age, and getting older could increase your risk of rotator cuff injury. In fact, most people who suffer torn rotator cuffs are over age 60.

Having a strenuous job

Certain activities can wear your rotator cuff out much faster. Jobs that require a lot of reaching or overhead motion, like construction or painting, could increase your risk of rotator cuff injury.

Playing sports

Sports can also strain your rotator cuff and make it wear out faster. You’re more likely to get a rotator cuff injury if you participate in activities like baseball, tennis, swimming, or weightlifting.

Symptoms of rotator cuff injuries

Rotator cuff injuries range from mild inflammation to serious tears. The most common symptom is shoulder pain. The pain may be worse at night, and it often gets worse over time.

Other common symptoms of rotator cuff damage are:

  • Crackling sensation when you move your arm
  • Loose feeling in your shoulder
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Instability or weakness
  • Stiffness

Severe rotator cuff tears can limit your ability to move your arm and can cause intense pain.

Treatment for rotator cuff injuries

If your shoulder hurts, book an appointment with one of our orthopaedic specialists. Rotator cuff injuries can continue progressing without proper care, and seeing a doctor is the best way to find relief from your symptoms.

Our team at Cascade Orthopaedics does a comprehensive physical exam to determine the extent of your injury. We may order medical imaging to rule out other conditions or get a closer look at the structures of your shoulder.

Rotator cuff tendinitis and bursitis often respond well to conservative care. We may prescribe rest, ice therapy, and physical therapy to reduce inflammation and restore flexibility. If you have pain that interferes with sleep, we may suggest steroid injections.

Rotator cuff tears don’t heal on their own, and you might need surgery. We specialize in arthroscopic surgery, which is a minimally invasive method to repair rotator cuff damage so your body can heal faster.

Rotator cuff injuries are common, but the pain doesn’t have to be permanent. Find comprehensive care at Cascade Orthopaedics in Auburn and Bonney Lake, Washington. Contact us to schedule your first appointment today.