What Are The Causes And Complications Of A Rotator Cuff Tear?

Rotator cuff tears are common problems that lead to pain and disability. Nearly two million Americans see their doctors regarding a rotator cuff problem annually. Torn rotator cuffs weaken the shoulder. Not only is this detrimental if individuals need to perform physical labor for their job, but it can also make completing day-to-day tasks more difficult. Getting dressed, buttoning a shirt, and brushing hair may all be painful endeavors. There are multiple causes and potential complications from a rotator cuff tear. When individuals use their shoulder muscles, they should make sure they’re always using the proper form and resting when they need to. If an individual has a minor rotator cuff injury, they must let it heal to prevent it from becoming a full-on tear.

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Age-Related Degeneration

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Age-related degeneration is responsible for the majority of rotator cuff tears. A degenerative tear is categorized differently from an acute tear, which occurs due to a sudden injury. As individuals age, their shoulder tendons slowly wear down over time. This is a natural part of getting older. It’s more common for individuals to develop a rotator cuff tear in their dominant arm. Because these tears are related to degeneration, they tend to cause chronic issues rather than healing completely. A few different factors influence the degenerative aging process. If individuals perform repetitive motions like baseball pitching or tennis serves, their tendon can become worn down and torn due to overuse. Aging also causes less blood to be supplied to the rotator cuff, so there’s not the same ability to repair tendon damage. Some patients also develop bone spurs. These bony growths can develop underneath the acromion bone. As an individual’s arm lifts, their rotator cuff tendon rubs against the spurs, leading to further wear-and-tear. Rubbing and pinching caused by bone spurs is called shoulder impingement.

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