Rotator Cuff Therapy Exercises

Symptoms of Torn Rotator Cuff

The major symptoms of torn rotator cuff tendons, generally tendons are torn not muscles, depend on how the tear of the rotator cuff came about.

It is safe to say that for most people pain is one of the major symptoms of torn rotator cuff tendons. The other significant compliant associated with a tear of the rotator cuff is weakness of the shoulder.

There are a range of other more specific symptoms of a torn cuff tendon. Elsewhere on this site you will find specific rotator cuff information dealing with rotator cuff pain, rotator cuff tear symptoms and the more general rotator cuff symptoms.

In this section I want to give some detail about the symptoms of torn rotator cuff tendons and how they are used in rotator cuff injury assessment.

There are a number of different ways in which any tear of the rotator cuff is diagnosed. There is no single definitive test that confirms a tear in the rotator cuff.

Rotator cuff injury assessment is complicated because the rotator cuff is a complicated structure composed of four very different muscles. Any good doctor will take the time to listen to your history and then carry out a thorough examination.

Depending upon his findings they may possibly refer you for further tests such as an xray. Ultrasound of potential rotator cuff tears and mri scans however are the more normal methods used for further investigation.

The final choice would generally be an arthroscopy, the use of a camera to investigate internally any potential tear of the rotator cuff.

Rotator cuff injury assessment

So exactly what should happen at an initial rotator cuff injury assessment? Simply this is an examination to determine how your symptoms of torn rotator cuff muscles affect you as an individual.

The first thing that your doctor will record is a detailed history of your general health, past problems and related injuries. They should ask what specifically occurred to cause the current tear of the rotator cuff or how your symptoms have developed.

Both shoulders will be looked at and compared, this is an important point and this will be done both visually and by touch.

It is also important to rule out other non rotator cuff injuries. To do this it is likely that your neck, spine, elbows and wrists will be checked to establish if there is something underlying that is contributing to your symptoms.

It is possible for example for pain in the shoulder region to be transferred from other areas such as the neck or the upper ribs, this possibility should always be considered. The last thing done in any rotator cuff injury assessment is that your range of movement should be tested.

Not only will you be asked to do certain movements but you will be required to report what is painful, how painful it is and at what point the pain is first felt.

It is only through observing and listening throughout this detailed process that any doctor should make a rotator cuff injury assessment. Because the symptoms of torn rotator cuff tendons vary this methodical approach must be adopted.

During this assessment period the doctor should obtain enough detailed rotator cuff information to make a diagnosis. The diagnosis can be quite specific as the tests performed should be sufficiently varied to identify fairly accurately the extent of the problem.

You will be assessed with the arm moved in a number of different ways. You may be asked to undertake these tests standing up, sitting down or lying on an examination couch.

Each of these movements will be to assess both sensation and strength in the shoulder area. Generally these tests can identify the specific tendon that is affected and confirm it is a tear of the rotator cuff or pain due to inflammation or something else such as bursitis.

Other methods to diagnose symptoms of torn rotator cuff tendons

It may be necessary, in some cases, to undertake further testing to establish exactly the cause of your particular symptoms. The variety of symptoms of torn rotator cuff tendons mean that you may well be referred for further tests.

Accurate Rotator cuff injury assessment is very important and obtaining sufficient specific rotator cuff information about you should always be the priority.

normal rotator cuff

Normal rotator cuff mri image

torn rotator cuff

Torn rotator cuff mri image

You may be referred for a variety of tests such as x-ray, arthroscopy.

Increasingly however ultrasound is important in the testing of rotator cuff tears and mri scans can be highly effective in rotator cuff injury assessment.

The images above clearly demonstrate just how effective this can be.

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