Rotator cuff tendinitis results from the irritation and inflammation of the tendons of the rotator cuff muscles in the area underlying the acromion. The condition is sometimes known as pitcher’s shoulder though it is a common injury in all sports requiring overhead arm movements, including tennis volleyball, swimming and weightlifting.
Cause of injury
Inflammation of the rotator cuff tendons from tennis, baseball, swimming etc. Irritation of the bursa of the rotator cuff causing inflammation and swelling in the space. Pre-existing disposition including anatomical irregularity.
Signs and symptoms
Weakness or pain with overhead activities, such as brushing hair, reaching up etc. Popping or cracking sensation in the shoulder. Pain in the injured shoulder, particularly when lying on it.
Complications if left unattended
Rotator cuff tendinitis can worsen without attention as the tendons and bursa become increasingly inflamed. Motion becomes more limited and tendon tears can cause further and in some cases chronic pain. Prolonged irritation may result in the production of bone spurs which contribute to further irritation.
Application of ice and use of anti-inflammatory medication. Discontinue all athletic and other activity causing rotator cuff pain. Then heat to promote blood flow and healing.
Rehabilitation and prevention
Following rest and healing of the injured shoulder, physical therapy should be undertaken to strengthen the muscle of the rotator cuff. Occasionally steroid injections are required to reduce pain and inflammation. Moderation of rotator cuff use, adequate recovery time between athletic activities and strength training can all help avoid the injury.
Given proper rest as well as physical therapy and ( where needed) steroidal injections, most athletes enjoy a full recovery from this injury. Should a serious tear of the rotator cuff tissue occur, surgery may be required although recovery to pre-injury levels of activity is usually expected.
Massage for Rotator Cuff
Local massage is indicated in the subacute stage to increase circulation to the surrounding tissues, reduce edema, break up fascia adhesions or scar tissue, and to re-establish range of motion to the joint affected.