First let’s find out what shoulder tendonitis or rotator cuff tendonitis is? There are several other names that this can be called. Some are known as tennis shoulder, pitcher’s shoulder and even a shoulder impingement. These are all common names for a very similar problem.
So what is it? Shoulder tendonitis or rotator cuff tendonitis is the inflammation and can be an irritation and swelling of the tendons of the shoulder. The shoulder joint is a ball and socket type joint. The top part of the arm bone (humerus) forms a joint with the shoulder blade (scapula). The rotator cuff holds the head of the humerus into the scapula.
What is the most common cause of rotator cuff tendonitis?
A lot of the time the problem occurs with sports. Inflammation of the tendons of the shoulder muscles occur in sports using the arm being moved over the head repeatedly. Such sports are tennis, baseball (pitching mainly) swimming and even lifting weights over the head. What happens sometimes is you get the inflammation or injury and can cause the tendons of the rotator cuff to tear. Sometimes this occurs in people over 40 years of age.
Some of the symptoms
- Pain when the arm is moved
- Arm is weak when rising over your head
- Pain in shoulder at night, especially when lying on the affected shoulder.
- Pain in arm when performing overhead activities
How to find out if you have shoulder tendonitis
X-ray’s or MRI. X-ray’s can show a burn spur. The MRI can show the inflammation in the rotator cuff. There could also be a tear in the rotator cuff and the MRI will show this.
Shoulder Tendonitis Surgery
Before shoulder tendonitis surgery, you should try physical therapy to strengthen the muscles of the rotator cuff. If the pain is too great to start physical therapy a steroid injection (cortisone) may reduce pain and inflammation enough to start effective therapy.
If there is a tear in the rotator cuff or therapy has not helped and symptoms persist, shoulder surgery may be necessary. For most shoulder surgery, this can be accomplished with arthroscopic surgery. This type of surgery is effective in removing the bone spur and inflamed tissue around the shoulder.
You can also treat small tears with shoulder tendonitis surgery and arthroscopic surgery. There are even some new techniques that allow even large tears to be repaired with arthroscopic surgery. Now there are some large tears that are going to require open surgery to repair the torn tendon.
Shoulder Tendonitis Surgery Expectations
Once the shoulder tendonitis surgery is completed and the bone spur or tear has been repaired arthroscopic ally, you can expect the use of the shoulder to pre-injury levels. The activities that you performed prior to the injury should be able to perform them once again.
There are a couple of factors in determining the success of the shoulder tendonitis surgery. People with tears of their rotator cuff that have had the shoulder tendonitis surgery (arthroscopic) will do well. It will depend upon the size and the duration of the tear. The age of the patient will also have a bearing on the outcome and what the pre-injury level of function was.
So there are some things that you can do and the success of the shoulder tendonitis surgery should have a successful outcome in most cases. In another article I will discuss the rehabilitation of shoulder tendonitis surgery.
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