A rotator cuff tear is a common shoulder injury that can cause pain and disability. There are a number of ways that it can occur, including auto crashes and work-related accidents. Each year nearly 2 million American adults see their doctor because of problems with a rotator cuff.
This type of injury can be serious if left untreated. It can weaken the shoulder and become a source of chronic pain. You may experience weakness in your arm and hand as well. If you don’t get proper treatment, you may find that something as simple as putting on a shirt or brushing your hair can cause excruciating pain or be very difficult to do. This is not the type of injury that you should take lightly.
Rotator Cuff Injuries and Tears
A rotator cuff injury can begin as inflammation or tendonitis and progress to tearing as a result of repetitive motion over a prolonged period of time. Trauma to the shoulder can also cause the tear, such as a fall, heavy lifting, or a sharp blow to the shoulder area, especially if it causes a shoulder dislocation. In such cases, a rotator cuff tear is highly likely.
A tear can be partial, meaning that the tendon is damaged but not completely severed, or it can be complete, also called a full thickness tear. In such cases, the tendon is separated from the bone, leaving a hole in the tendon tissue.
People who are over 40 are at a greater risk for getting a torn rotator cuff. This risk increases with age. People who do activities that require they frequently reach overhead and those who do repetitive lifting are also at risk. Athletes like baseball pitchers, football players, and tennis players are particularly vulnerable to this type of injury. Most of the instances where this type of injury shows up in a young person, it is usually due to trauma from an accident.
Common symptoms of a rotator cuff tear include:
- Pain in the shoulder while at rest
- Crackling sensation when you move your shoulder – especially in certain positions
- Weakness or heaviness when rotating or lifting your arm
- Shoulder pain at night especially when lying on the side that is affected
- Pain when moving your arm, particularly when lowering or lifting it or moving it in a certain way
Treatment for Torn Rotator Cuff Injury
Your doctor will determine a torn rotator cuff diagnosis by first getting your medical history, then discussing your symptoms with you and examining your shoulder. He or she will be checking for tenderness in the area and if any deformity is present. You may also have to move your arm in certain ways so that your doctor can measure your range of motion.
You may have to get an x-ray or MRI to confirm your diagnosis and rule out other conditions or issues.
Early treatment of a rotator cuff injury can help keep your symptoms from getting worse and help you heal faster. Treatment for a torn rotator cuff includes:
- Rest and possibly immobilization of the shoulder.
- Ice to reduce inflammation
- Anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen or naproxen sodium
- Steroid injection
- Surgery to repair the tear
You may also have to do physical therapy to strengthen the shoulder and improve your range of motion.
Torn Rotator Cuff Injury Settlement
If a torn rotator cuff injury is part of your personal injury case, it can have a significant impact on your case due to the degree of disability, temporary or permanent, that it may cause. While each case is different, a torn rotator cuff is usually considered to be serious.
Your attorney may negotiate a settlement for you based on specific details from your accident. The degree of injury, whether the injury causes disability permanent or temporary, and the type of treatment that is used to repair the damage. If the injury causes loss of earning capacity, that can increase the settlement amount even further.
The way that your injury affects you personally will also play a large part in how the damages are valued. If you were very active, played sports, or had a job that required heavy lifting, you may not be able to return to those aspects of your life due to your injury. The court will take this into consideration when determining your settlement, especially if it hinders or keeps you from making a living.
When you meet with your attorney for your consultation, you may want to bring along your records on your injury as well as any x-rays and MRI scans. This way he or she can see the extent of your damage.
Getting in an accident can turn your world upside down. You may have difficulty engaging in normal activities due to injury. You may have mounting expenses like medical bills and costs to repair property damage. At Doehrman Buba Ring Attorney at Law our clients are our number one priority. If you’ve been injured in an accident, contact us today for a free consultation. When you need a personal injury attorney in Carmel, we’re here for you.