3 Primary Signs of a Rotator Cuff Tear

Significant injuries like a tear in the rotator cuff are important to get treated. Knowing what to look out for when you experience shoulder pain can help you realize when it's time to see a medical professional.

With a passion for innovative, evidence-based treatments along with preventive care, Dr. Jeremy Woodson and our expert team welcome everyone — men, women, and children — to our office in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. We provide top-notch care for a wide variety of orthopedic issues affecting elite athletes, weekend warriors, and everyday people, including joint issues, sports medicine injuries, shoulder problems like a torn rotator cuff, and more.

Rotator cuff injury

Our shoulders offer a wide range of motion. But such motion increases the risk of issues like a torn rotator cuff. The shoulder consists of a collection of four muscles and tendons to stabilize the joint.

Rotator cuff injuries include a partial tear (one of the muscles gets damaged or frayed) and a complete tear (the tendon is ripped in two or detached from the bone).

There are several causes, ranging from sports-related factors like throwing a baseball or swinging a tennis racket to jobs that involve repetitive motions such as painting or window cleaning. A sudden injury can also occur due to lifting something heavy or an impact such as falling.

Signs of an injury

Rotator cuff tears often express several symptoms. These include:

1. Pain

Rotator cuff injuries often result in a dull ache that can be felt deep in the shoulder. It can occur due to specific movements, such as lifting or lowering the arm. Some people experience discomfort during rest as well. Sleeping is often disturbed by pain, especially when lying on the affected shoulder. Tenderness and swelling may also accompany the discomfort.

2. Weakness and limited mobility

Weakness in the shoulder or arm may occur. Certain tasks may also be more difficult or impossible to perform, like lifting, combing your hair, or reaching behind your back.

3. Crackling sound

Rotator cuff injuries can make a popping, clicking, or crackling sound when the shoulder or arm is moved in certain ways.

Diagnosis and treatment

Anyone who experiences these symptoms and suspects a rotator cuff tear should visit our team for a proper diagnosis. The appointment typically includes an exam and can include tests like X-Ray, MRI, or other imaging studies to confirm a rotator cuff tear. 

The severity of the injury dictates the path of treatment. Partial tears may involve one or more of the following: 

A complete tear generally requires surgery.

If you think you may have torn your rotator cuff, call our office today at 405-233-3602 for an appointment to begin the road to recovery.

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