The rotator cuff is a group of muscles that connect your shoulder blade to the top of your upper arm or humerus. The muscles become tendons that pass underneath your shoulder blade.
Signs of Rotator Cuff Tendinitis And Bursitis
Often times through simple wear and tear of the rotator cuff patients will become uncomfortable, particularly at night while they are sleeping. This is often a sign of rotator cuff tendinitis or bursitis. The pain is usually along the outer aspect of the upper arm and may even work its way down towards the elbow. Most patients’ have a slow progression of the pain and have not actually had any real injuries. Patients may have problems putting on clothes or trying to reach above or behind their back at times.
The tendons are covered with a tissue called the bursa which should help the glide of the tendons. This tissue can become inflamed and swollen leading to “bursitis” from rubbing against structures under your shoulder blade. This is often called “impingement” of the shoulder.
Treating Rotator Cuff Tendinitis And Bursitis
A good physical examination will suggest rotator cuff tendinitis or bursitis. X-rays may reveal a curvature of the shoulder blade that may be exacerbating the inflammation of your tendons. Many times a good regimen of anti-inflammatories and physical therapy to stabilize the muscles around the shoulder will relieve pain and restore range of motion and function. Sometimes a cortisone shot can help with immediate pain relief and improvement in the symptoms.
If the pain does not improve and simple activities are difficult, such as getting a good night’s sleep, arthroscopy may be needed to address the problem. There may be a small partial tear in the shoulder and inflamed tissue that can be addressed to improve the problem. A program of rehabilitation after surgery is very important to getting a good recovery from rotator cuff procedures. If you have any questions about bursitis or rotator cuff tendinitis, please feel free to contact me or schedule an appointment.