Rotator Cuff Disease

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

  • Medical Editor: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.

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Are there home remedies for rotator cuff disease?

Mild rotator cuff disease is treated with cold packs, rest, and anti-inflammatory medications (such as ibuprofen and others). It is essential to avoid reinjuring the shoulder by avoiding activities that stress the joint.

What are complications of rotator cuff disease?

The most serious complication of rotator cuff disease is frozen shoulder. Frozen shoulder is a result of scarring that occurs around the inflamed joint and leads to loss of range of motion and function of the joint. Frozen shoulder is also referred to as adhesive capsulitis.

What specialists treat rotator cuff disease?

Specialists who treat rotator cuff disease include generalists, including general practitioners, family practitioners, and internists, as well as orthopedic surgeons, physiatrists, rheumatologists, and physical therapists.

What is the prognosis (outlook) for rotator cuff disease?

Without treatment, the shoulder can permanently lose full function from rotator cuff disease. Minor rotator cuff injuries cause mild to moderate dysfunction. Severe rotator cuff injuries can cause complete dysfunction of the shoulder joint. Scarring around the shoulder (adhesive capsulitis) can lead to a marked restriction of the range of shoulder motion (frozen shoulder).

Extensive need for rehabilitation and physical therapy is the norm with significant rotator cuff disease. Some patients never recover full function of the shoulder joint.

Is it possible to prevent rotator cuff disease?

Rotator cuff disease can be prevented by avoiding injury to the tendons of the shoulder. Rotator cuff disease can also be prevented by strengthening the rotator cuff muscles with exercises designed for this purpose. Repetitive strains, especially arm movements over the head, should be limited.

REFERENCES:

Longo, D.L., et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 18th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Professional, 2011.

Koopman, William, et al., eds. Clinical Primer of Rheumatology. Philadelphia, Pa: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2003.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/16/2015

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