Rotator cuff tendonitis and rotator cuff tendinitis are the same things. The only difference is in the spelling; that one fact often clears up a huge amount of uncertainty.
This is a study of tendonitis, what it is, what causes it and a study of the symptoms of tendonitis. How tendonitis is diagnosed and how diagnostic tools such as rotator cuff mri can be used to advise the best rotator cuff treatment options.
What is tendonitis?
The only definitive thing that can be said tendonitis is that it is the most common cause of shoulder pain. Its causes, diagnosis and treatment remain the subject of much debate. I suppose that if the experts fail to agree on spelling, what chance them agreeing on anything else?
The accepted view is that tendonitis is the irritation and inflammation of the bodies tendons. It tends to have an acute or sudden onset. There can be a preceding injury. It can be brought on through overuse of the shoulder. For example, it can occur in athletes, particularly those who compete in sports requiring arm work over head height such as throwing sports and swimming.
There are a variety of symptoms of rotator cuff tendonitis.
- Pain is the most common symptom. Pain is located on the top and front of the shoulder but occasionally to the side too. The pain is often worse with any overhead activity or during exercise.
- Weakness is the other major symptom; a noticeable reduction in shoulder strength particularly with overhead activities.
- A hot or burning sensation in the shoulder.
- You may find you simply can not sleep on the affected shoulder.
- A popping or cracking sensation in the shoulder; more common if you also have bursitis.
An accurate diagnosis should be possible by a doctor discussing your symptoms and examining you. They will ask a range of questions to establish when the problems started, what the pain is like, what makes it better / worse, if there was a specific incident, and what range of mobility you have in the shoulder.
An examination will be conducted to test your full range of motion and when pain is felt. Typically the painful arc test will be one of a number of tests performed ie lifting the arm up and away from the body to measure when pain is felt – often in the region of 70 – 120 degrees.
More detailed tests such as ultrasound or a rotator cuff mri scan may be recommended.
Treatment for tendonitis can be both simple and effective. There is no other way forward.
- Stop what you are doing! If something causes tendonitis and pain stop doing it. Give things a chance to settle down.
- RICE – Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation a proven formula
- Painkillers and anti inflammatory medication
- Take action to strengthen your cuff muscles through exercise
- Slowly ease back into action.
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