Rotator cuff injuries are incredibly common. In fact, research shows that likelihood to injure the rotator cuff increases as we age, with this type of injury occurring most often in people over 40. So, what exactly is the rotator cuff and how does it get injured?
There are many ways that rotator cuff injuries can occur. Most commonly, at least in symptomatic cases, the injury comes from some sort of trauma and/or wear and tear type injuries. It’s easy to see how this would happen in sports for example by throwing a ball repeatedly or taking a hit to the shoulder.
But, for those of us that are either not currently playing any sports, the wear and tear of daily life can very easily kick in and really start to cause problems. Think about this: most of us tend to have our shoulders in a less than ideal position much of the day, sitting at a computer, etc. This tends to tighten up the shoulders(For that fact, just repetitively using the mouse causes a number of rotator cuff problems). Once the shoulders tighten up and the shoulder blade is not allowed to move easily the little rotator cuff muscles tend to become affected. When this happens, something as easy as reaching into the backseat can cause some tearing of the rotator cuff leading to pain and lack of proper function.
That brings me to the question that I get asked quite often: If I have a rotator cuff injury, does that mean I’m going to have to have surgery? I answer that question and explain a little bit more detail in the video below.