Rotator cuff tendinitis is an inflammation of the tendons of the shoulder. A tendon is a fibrous band that connects muscles to bones. The
muscles of the rotator cuff connect the humerus, or upper bone of the arm, to the shoulder. At the end of each muscle is a tendon that attaches the muscle to the bone. The four muscles of the rotator cuff are able to move bones by pulling on these tendons. These muscles and tendons allow movement and rotation of the arm and shoulder. Since these tendons are in frequent motion they are susceptible to injury, pain, and inflammation.
What are the signs and symptoms of the injury?
Symptoms of rotator cuff tendinitis include:
- shoulder pain, especially with movement and at night
- weakness in the arm and shoulder
- a snapping sensation in the shoulder with movement
- tenderness and swelling in the upper front part of the shoulder
- in severe cases, inability to raise the arm to shoulder height
What are the causes and risks of the injury?
The causes of rotator cuff tendonitis may include:
- injury to the shoulder joint or to the muscles of the shoulder
- the shoulder blade rubbing, pinching, or irritating the tendon
- repetitive stress injury, especially if the person’s arm is repeatedly raised above the shoulder
- poor posture, which puts extra pressure on the muscles and tendons
- sudden increase in duration and intensity of exercising that involves the arm and shoulder
- calcium deposits in the rotator cuff
- musculoskeletal or inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis
- the normal aging process of the body
A person involved in sports before the injury may find a decrease in the normal range of motion in the shoulder. Chronic pain or soreness in the shoulder may occur. Rupture of the tendon is also possible.