Inside the shoulder joint is a muscle group consisting of four muscles: the subscapularis, supraspinatus, infraspinatus, and teres minor muscles, which surround the head of the humerus from above like a cap. The function of these muscles is to both stabilize the shoulder joint and to lift and turn or rotate the arm. These muscles are grouped according to function and called theRotator Cuff“ bezeichnet.
If you look at the osseous channel through which the muscles run, it is easy to see how exertion can cause damage to the muscle tissue (see also impingement).
A rotator cuff tear can occur as the result of an injury (rotator cuff lesion). However, ongoing wear and deterioration is significantly more common when looking at impingement syndrome. The supraspinatus tendon (i.e. the supraspinatus muscle tendon) is the most frequently affected in this situation.
Pain when lifting the arm, often linked with a significant loss of strength is typical of rotator cuff injuries. In some cases, it is no longer possible to lift the arm at all.
For younger patients, a rotator cuff injury should be treated surgically. In most cases, the tear in the rotator cuff can be sutured using the minimally invasive technique of Arthroscopy . The surgical scar is only three to four millimeters long. If the injury is more significant older, this may not be possible and a skin incision of approximately one centimeter is necessary. It is important to mention that, despite the operation, pain will persist for eight to twelve weeks and intensive postoperative physical therapy will be required.
For elderly patients, three to six months of conservative treatment with physiotherapy can be attempted as a first step. However, as very good outcomes are generally achieved by current surgical methods, an operation should not be delayed for too long for patients who complain of ongoing pain and restricted movement despite physiotherapy.
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