Rotator Cuff (cont.)

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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. Sometimes, scarring around the shoulder (adhesive capsulitis) leads to a marked restriction of the range of shoulder motion. This condition is referred to as a 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.

Can rotator cuff disease be prevented?

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.

Rotator cuff disease facts

  • The rotator cuff is a group of four tendons.
  • Rotator cuff disease is one of the most common causes of shoulder pain.
  • The rotator cuff can be injured by degeneration, inflammation, or trauma.
  • The diagnosis of rotator cuff disease can be confirmed by radiology testing.
  • The treatment of rotator cuff disease depends on the severity of the injury to the tendons of the rotator cuff.

Medically reviewed by Aimee V. HachigianGould, MD; American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery

REFERENCES:

Fauci, A.S., and C.A. Langford. Harrison's Rheumatology. New York: McGraw-Hill Medical Publishing, 2006.

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


Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/15/2014

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Rotator Cuff - Injury Question: How did you injure your rotator cuff?
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