ROTATOR CUP OR ROTATOR CUFF?
The answer is Rotator CUFF. It seems like there are over 1,000 searches a month on Google for “Rotator Cup” so we understand that people are still getting to know their shoulder … The correct term is “Rotator Cuff”, which refers to a group of muscles and tendons around top of the arm and shoulder and so called because they form what looks like a cuff around that area of the body.
HOW COMMON ARE ROTATOR CUFF INJURIES?
As we all continue to grow a little older and we participate in the sports and activities that we love, whatever age we may be, the Rotator Cuff receives a lot of wear and tear. In 2021, here in our orthopedic clinics in Northern California we continue to see many Rotator Cuff injuries among patients of all ages.
WHAT IS THE ROTATOR CUFF?
As you will see in the image, the anatomy of the shoulder is quite complex. It is a large joint that we ask a lot of – rotating in multiple directions to allow us flexibility and strength in our arms. The Rotator Cuff is not a single muscle or tendon, it is a group of muscles and their associated tendons that attach the upper arm bone (humerus) to the shoulder blade (scapula). It assists in moving the arm in multiple directions while keeping it securely in your shoulder socket. Wow, what a multi-tasker!
Muscles are connected to bones by tendons and so each of the muscles has a corresponding tendon which attaches it to the humerus on one end and the scapula on the other end. The four muscles whose tendons form the Rotator Cuff are the
Supraspinatus which is responsible for elevating the arm and moving it away from the body
Subscapularis which moves the arm by turning it inward (internal rotation)
Infraspinatus which assists the lifting of the arm during outward turning (external rotation) of the arm
Teres Minor which also helps in the outward turning (external rotation) of the arm
WHAT KIND OF ROTATOR CUFF INJURIES ARE THERE?
While there are different injuries that can happen and conditions that can develop around the Rotator Cuff area, they usually fall into two main categories:
Wear-and-tear injuries and conditions
Acute (sudden) injury
Regardless of the cause, we very often see tears of the Rotator Cuff tendon.
THE IMPORTANCE OF DIAGNOSIS
Though a tear of the Rotator Cuff tendon is the most common shoulder injury we see, it is important to obtain a professional diagnosis from your orthopedic doctor because there are other types of tissue which can be injured in the shoulder: bone, cartilage, ligaments, muscles, and the bursa sac (a sac of fluid which acts as a cushion in the body, for example between tissue and bone).
In an evaluation, your orthopedic doctor will have you perform very specific movements to establish which movements you can and cannot do, in order to properly determine what injury or condition you have. Sometimes in the process, a diagnostic image such as an MRI is needed to see exactly where the damage has been sustained. Different injuries and conditions may require different treatment approaches. While we always start as conservatively as possible, if you have a severe tear of a tendon, immediate surgery may be necessary to avoid further long-term damage.
ADVANCES IN TREATMENT FOR ROTATOR CUFF TEARS
In our orthopedic clinics, we are always on the lookout for advances in treatment methods and new innovative products that will supplement our skills and improve the quality of care for our patients. It’s important to us that we educate our patients on their injury or condition and what options are available.
Depending on the individual and the severity of their injury, the quality of the tendon tissue after may be so poor that there is a risk of a re-tear or only partial healing. There are new technologies available that allow us to boost our surgery effectiveness and help stimulate healing and prevent tendon degeneration.
Watch the video to learn more about Rotator Cuff Tears and innovative treatment options.
LEARN MORE ABOUT BIO-INDUCTIVE IMPLANTS
Tendons are composed primarily of collagen and a bio-inductive implant is a thin collagen sheet that, in this case, is placed over a torn rotator cuff and promotes the creation of new tissue. Once in position it acts as a sort-of scaffold that allows new tendon tissue to grow over the tear. A biological implant is not an implant in the same sense as a dental implant or a new hip or knee joint: it is not a permanent solid material. It is a high purity product designed with unique biomechanical properties that induces new tissue to remodel into linearly oriented, tendon-like tissue. Thus, during the six months or so after surgery, it absorbs completely into the tendon, leaving behind nothing but new, strong connective tendon tissue. Because of this ability, these are also referred to as ‘bio-absorbable’ implants.
If you are suffering from shoulder pain and would like to schedule an appointment with one of our shoulder orthopedic specialists, please contact me or one of my medical colleagues. Our shoulder specialists include:
For more information on shoulder conditions visit our Rotator Cuff page
To book an appointment for shoulder pain, call us on 925 939-8585.
For Rotator Cuff information from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons visit Rotator Cuff tears .