If you’ve ever injured your rotator cuff, you’re motivated to prevent injuring it again. Ligaments, tendons, or muscles may be involved in the injury. You may need to wear a sling for a period, making it difficult to engage in normal activities. Some rotator cuff injuries need surgical repair.
At Coastal Empire Orthopedics, we treat many rotator cuff injuries. Your board-certified orthopedic surgeon performs tests, asks you to perform certain motions with your arm, and may order an MRI to determine the extent of the damage.
Symptoms of a rotator cuff injury
If you’ve hurt yourself on the field or the job with a traumatic injury causing severe shoulder pain, you’ll be treated at the hospital. However, many rotator cuff injuries start with minor symptoms that gradually worsen.
Following are some of the common symptoms of a rotator cuff injury:
- Ache deep in the shoulder
- Abnormal weakness in your arm
- Trouble reaching up to touch your head or move your arm behind your back
- Trouble sleeping on your side
Preventing a rotator cuff injury
Following are tips that can help prevent this disabling shoulder injury.
Always warm up before using your shoulder for an extended period
Whether you’re going to play competitive tennis or paint a ceiling, always warm up before starting serious play or using repetitive motions at work. Your Coastal Empire Orthopedics physician can recommend several exercises for a routine that prepares your shoulders for more intense activity.
Regular stretching and exercise
Stretching helps maintain flexibility and range of motion as you get older. Regular, gentle, or senior yoga has many health benefits. Yoga can improve your balance which helps prevent falls.
Regular exercise helps keep your shoulders strong. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons provides a special program with visuals and step-by-step directions to keep your rotator cuff in good condition.
Everything in moderation
Plan your exercise routine and work routine to be in line with your physical ability. Playing five sets of tennis at age 30 is very different than trying to play five sets at 60. If you overload your muscles, tendons, and ligaments with more force than they can bear, you’ll end up with an injury and be out of the game for several months. If you play a strenuous game of tennis one day, then rest the next day.
Likewise, if you use repetitive overhead motions in your job, take breaks. If possible, ask for accommodations such as a chair or stool.
If you lift weights, you’re at risk for rotator cuff injury. Work with a trainer to learn how to lift with the correct technique. Don’t try to lift beyond your capacity; you’ll end up on the sidelines where you don’t want to be.
Call Coastal Empire Orthopedics or book an appointment online today for all your musculoskeletal needs.