Rotator Cuff Tendinopathy
When it comes to musculoskeletal complaints, shoulder pain is one of the common ones. The main conditions are tendon impingements, bicipital tendonitis, glenohumeral (GH), and acromioclavicular (AC) arthritis. subdeltoid bursa and frozen shoulder.
How can we treat these conditions? What measures can we take to avoid further damage to shoulder muscles? The answer is simple: we can treat most rotator cuff pathologies with good success using conservative therapies such as Prolotherapy. When treating tendons, it is first essential to diagnose whether the tendinopathy is from extrinsic causes, intrinsic causes, or a combination of the two.
Anatomy Of The Rotator Cuff
The rotator cuff consists of four tendons:
- The supraspinatus
- The infraspinatus
- Teres minor
All these tendons attach muscles of the same name to the shoulder blade and the humerus or the upper arm bone. Each of them works together to stabilize the joint, rotate the shoulder, and lift the arm above the head. When inflammation of the supraspinatus tendon starts, it causes rotator cuff tendinitis. As the condition progress, all the other three tendons gradually develop inflammation.
What is Tendinopathy?
It is essential to understand what tendinopathy is in order to understand how the treatment for it works.
Tendinopathy is commonly referred to as an overuse condition that manifests itself as pain in and around tendons. Tendon disorganization and thickening is associated with this painful condition. As a result of this, the tendon suffers from fatigue, strain and sometimes a complete tear.
Introduction To Rotator Cuff Tendinopathy
Rotator cuff tendinopathy is a type of shoulder pain usually caused by overuse of tendons or general wear and tear in your tendon. Sometimes people called it tendinosis or tendinitis. It is most common in people over the age of 30.
It is always advisable to get a damaged tendon treated as soon as possible to prevent long-term weakness, and a reoccurrence of the injury. The most common activities that cause tendons to tear are swimming, tennis, golf, or many more.
Symptoms Of Rotator Cuff Tendinopathy
There are many symptoms; if you have a rotator cuff tendinopathy, you will notice pain in the front or top of your shoulder. It is often more painful when you raise your arm above shoulder height.
Swelling and tenderness can be present in the front of your shoulder. Pain may be felt when you wake up in the morning. There can be weakness in the upper arm as well as loss of strength and stability. When you move your hands over your head, lifting weights, or lie on the affected side of the shoulder you can experience discomfort.
A prominent symptom of rotator cuff tendinopathy can be joint stiffness. You feel the pain that may radiate down from the arm to the elbow. In aggravated cases of tendinopathy, you feel pain even while resting. Your range of motion may be affected, and you may get a feeling of cracking or joint locking.
Causes Of Rotator Cuff Tendinopathy
When you age, ligaments, and tendons lose their strength and take longer to recover. This can leave your tendon vulnerable to injury.
If you take part in regular sports activities like swimming, golf, basketball, that involve a lot of movement of the arm, then it can stress the shoulder joint out. Tendinopathy can also occur when there is the presence of osteophytes or bone spurs that can impinge upon the muscles and tendons.
Repetitive movement can cause micro-trauma to the tendons and as a result can cause weakness, pain and instability. Inflammation of one of the bursae in the shoulder can put pressure on the structures of the shoulder and lead to tendinopathy.
The condition can also be caused by impingement under the acromion bone. When you struggle to maintain good posture, it then affects the neck, shoulder, and thoracic spine. This can lead to the tendons functioning at an angle that they were designed to function at. Genes can also play their roles as inherent muscular weakness can lead to joint instability.
Diagnosis Of Rotator Cuff Tendinopathy
To diagnose tendinopathy, practitioners may note down your medical history and ask questions about your lifestyle, occupation and physical activities. They can then refer you to have an ultrasound of MRI scan to assess for damage.
Before scans, your practitioner will ask you to move your arm in different directions to check the range of motion. To check the bone alignment, bone spurs, and other structural changes, doctors ask for X-ray images.