What is rotator cuff tendinitis?

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Rotator cuff tendinitis involves the tendons and muscles that move the shoulder joint. If an individual develops tendinitis, the tendons are irritated or inflamed.

This condition develops over time and might be due to keeping the shoulder in one position while sleeping or engaging in activities that require extending the arm overhead.

What are the indications?

The indications of rotator cuff tendinitis generally worsen over time. The primary symptoms can be relieved with rest but later become continuous. The symptoms that radiate past the elbow typically indicate a different condition.

The usual indications include the following:

Application of ice packs on the shoulder at 3-4 times throughout the day.
  • Stiffness
  • Pain and swelling in the front part of the shoulder and side of the arm
  • Clicking sound is produced when the arm is raised
  • Pain when lowering or elevating the arm
  • Pain that wakes the individual from sleep
  • Pain or discomfort when reaching behind the back
  • Loss of mobility and strength in the affected arm

Management of rotator cuff tendinitis

The primary treatment for rotator cuff tendinitis, it involves relief from the pain and swelling to allow healing to take place which can be done by:

Additional treatment that the doctor might suggest includes:

  • Physical therapy – this involves stretching and other passive exercises to restore the range of motion and relieve the pain.
  • Steroids – this is the approach used if conservative measures fail to work. The steroid is injected directly into the tendon to lower the inflammation
  • Surgery – surgery is recommended if conservative measures are not effective.

Quick Note / Disclaimer

The material posted on this page on rotator cuff tendinitis is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to recognize and manage tendon conditions and injuries, register for a first aid and CPR course with Mississauga First Aid.

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