Rotator Cuff Tears in Los Angeles Athletes
The shoulder is a complex joint with a number of structures that work in unison to provide a wide range of motion, strength and stability. The rotator cuff is one of these structures. The rotator cuff is a group of four muscle-tendon units that create a covering, much like a shirt sleeve, around the ball (humeral head), allowing the arm to lift and rotate. The rotator cuff is one of the most commonly injured structures within the shoulder, especially in overhead athletes and older individuals. Dr. Mark Getelman is a leading shoulder surgeon dedicated to treating rotator cuff tears.
What is a Rotator Cuff Tear?
A rotator cuff tear is a common cause of shoulder pain and disability in athletes, no matter the playing level. A rotator cuff that has become torn weakens the shoulder and makes many daily activities, even getting dressed, difficult and painful.
When one or more of the rotator cuff tendons become torn, the tendon no longer attaches to the humeral head. Torn tendons often begin by fraying, but progressive damage to the soft tissue causes the tendon to tear. There are two types of rotator cuff tears:
- Partial (incomplete) tear- The tendon becomes damaged but does not completely sever
- Full-thickness (complete) tear- The damaged tendon tears completely away from the bone
What Causes Rotator Cuff Tears?
Rotator cuff tears are caused by a traumatic event or repetitive use with degeneration of the tendon over time.
Traumatic injuries that often cause a tear include a fall on an outstretched hand and lifting a heavy object with a jerking motion. Many tears are also caused by degeneration of the muscle-tendon unit from repetitive use during work and athletic activities, as well as the natural aging process.