Symmetry Blog

Myths and Facts - Rotator Cuff

Symmetry Physio - Sunday, May 28, 2017

We would all know someone with this injury, have a look at the myths and facts.

Rotator Cuff

MYTH You need to have sustained an obvious injury to have a Rotator Cuff tear.

FACT Although Rotator Cuff injuries are common in sports where the shoulder is used a lot, most rotator cuff tears are degenerative, meaning they happen over time.

MYTH I have Rotator Cuff Tendinopathy - I should have a cortisone injection.

FACT Although cortisone injections cam give immediate short term pain relief, the chemicals in it can actually make the tendon weaker long term. This means a greater risk of re-injury. Research shows that the most effective way to manage tendinopathy is using a very specific and structured rehabilitation protocol.

MYTH The muscle tears apart completely making arm movements impossible.

FACT The majority of Rotator Cuff tears occur through the tendon and are partial thickness tears. These types of tears respond very well to exercise rehabilitation, although some will require a period of rest and avoidance if certain activities or sports. Whilst the structures are very painful when inflamed, there are a number of other muscles around the shoulder that can help to keep it moving.

MYTH My doctor has found bursitis in my shoulder I should have a cortisone injection.

FACT The bursa sits between the tendon of the rotator cuff and the bone, it can become inflamed when there is too much friction o compression. It usually becomes inflamed in response to other rotator cuff pathologies such as tendinopathy or tears. This means that if you inject the bursa, it may settle symptoms temporarily, but you are not addressing the underlying issue and the inflammation may return. 

MYTH "I have a rotator cuff tear, I need surgery"

FACT Most small to moderate sized partial thickness tears will be managed conservatively (i.e. without surgery) with a rehabilitation program aimed at strengthening the tendon and correcting any issues that could be leading to the wear and tear on the tendon. With very large tears - often in the sporting population or following a traumatic injury, surgery will be required to fix the injured tendon.

If you have any concerns about your shoulder, make an appointment today to ensure an accurate diagnosis is made and we can assist you in your recovery with a tailored made program. 

The Team at Symmetry Phsiotherapy.


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