Rotator Cuff Tendinitis

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Rotator Cuff Tendinitis is an inflammation of the tendons in your shoulder joint. A tendon is a cord of tough tissue that connects your muscles to your bones. The rotator cuff is a set of muscles and tendons in the shoulder. It holds the top of the upper arm into the shoulder blade to form the shoulder joint. The rotator cuff also helps keep the bones in place even when moving your arm or shoulder. Rotator cuff tendinitis usually happens to those over 40 years of age and who repeatedly do overhead activities. With proper care and treatment, you may be able to resume your normal daily activities.


  • Pain associated with arm movement
  • Pain in the shoulder at night, especially when lying on the affected shoulder
  • Weakness with raising the arm above the head, or pain with overhead activities

  • Causes:
      Overuse: Most rotator cuff tendinitis happen with tendon wear and tear caused by too much shoulder activity. This commonly happens to athletes, such as baseball pitchers, swimmers, and tennis or racquetball players. This condition is also common in people who have to work with their arms frequently overhead.
      Impingement: Falls or incorrect throwing techniques or arm movements and weak shoulder muscles may cause the arm bone to move up and trap the tendon. This may also happen in persons who overtrain or have a sudden change in arm or shoulder activity.
      Calcium deposits: Calcium may deposit in the tendons due to decreased oxygen and poor blood supply. These deposits may cause irritation and inflammation of the tendon.

    Treatment will depend on your symptoms and the length of time you have them. Your caregiver may want you to limit activity on your affected shoulder to decrease stress on the tendon. This may help prevent further damage, decrease pain, and promote tendon healing. You may also have one or more of the following:

  • Medicines: Your caregiver may give you certain medicines to decrease the pain and swelling in your shoulder joint. These medicines may be given by mouth or as a shot in your shoulder.
  • Surgery: You may need surgery if the pain and tightening in your shoulder does not go away despite treatment. This may also be done if pain worsens or is so severe that it affects daily activities. During surgery, your caregiver may also remove bone spurs and inflamed tissue around the shoulder.
  • Rehabilitation: This is a program that helps your rotator cuff heal faster. Exercises to make the tendon stronger will be started after the tendinitis has healed. This aims to bring back your shoulder's normal range of motion and strengthen your rotator cuff. Your caregiver may use therapeutic ultrasound or massage to increase blood flow to the affected area. You may be asked to do specific exercises, such as stretching and strengthening of your shoulder muscles. Your caregiver may help you make some changes in your activities to help decrease the stresses placed on tendons.

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