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Rotator Cuff Tendinopathy

Rotator Cuff Tendinopathy - Conditions & Treatments | SingHealth

Rotator Cuff Tendinopathy - What it is

Rotator Cuff Tendinopathy conditions and treatments

The rotator cuff is a group of four small muscles that surround the shoulder. They work as a unit to help stabilise the shoulder joint and help with shoulder joint movement.

They may be injured through wear and tear (from repetitive movements), improper lifting of a load or a fall. Injuries range in severity from tendon strains to partial and complete tears.

Rotator Cuff Tendinopathy - Symptoms

​The main symptoms are an acute onset of pain and painful movement of the shoulder, worse with overhead
activities.

If a tear is present, there may also be weakness. The symptoms may be severe enough to affect sleep and  daily activities such as dressing or bathing.

Rotator Cuff Tendinopathy - How to prevent?

Rotator Cuff Tendinopathy - Causes and Risk Factors

​Rotator cuff tendinopathy is caused by irritation and inflammation of the tendons of the rotator cuff muscles. Often, it is of an acute onset with a preceding injury.

Sometimes, it occurs due to overuse of the shoulder, especially in athletes who participate in throwing sports. In non-athletes, there may be a history of recent heavy lifting.

Rotator Cuff Tendinopathy - Diagnosis

The diagnosis is often obtained through a thorough history and physical examination.

Investigations such as x-rays, ultrasound scans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or computed tomography (CT) scans may be done to assess its severity and/or exclude injuries to the surrounding structures. This will also help with selecting the appropriate course of treatment.

Rotator Cuff Tendinopathy - Treatments

  • ​Rest. Active rest is the main treatment for rotator cuff tendinopathy.
  • Medication. Paracetamol and nonsteroidal anti-inflammtory drugs (NSAIDs) can also reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Physiotherapy. Physiotherapy to regain strength and motion is also a modality of treatment.
  • Steroids. Occasionally steroid injections may be performed to reduce the inflammation in the rotator cuff tendons if rest, medication or physiotherapy does not help.
  • Shockwave therapy. In calcific tendinopathy, extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT) may be delivered to the affected tendon to help with the pain.
  • Surgery. Surgery is sometimes needed in large or complete rotator cuff tendon tears, and may involve enlarging the space underneath the acromion and repair of the rotator cuff tendon.

Rotator Cuff Tendinopathy - Preparing for surgery

Rotator Cuff Tendinopathy - Post-surgery care

Rotator Cuff Tendinopathy - Other Information

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