Rotator cuff injuries are shoulder injuries that can lead to severe pain and chronic disability. Very often, surgery is recommended for persons who have suffered serious rotator cuff tears, but these surgeries also have high failure rates, especially when they involve very large tears, or older patients. Now, researchers are trying to understand exactly how these muscles and tendons attach to each other, in order to possibly develop engineered tissues that could help to improve outcomes for rotator cuff repair surgeries.
The rotator cuff refers to a combination of bones, muscles and tendons in the shoulder, which play a prominent role in helping the person move his or her shoulder freely. However, these muscles and tendons may be at a higher risk of injury due to aging- related wear and tear, repetitive stress in the workplace, a fall, or any other type of shoulder injury. Sometimes, these injuries occur as a result of severe shoulder dislocation.
A person who suffers from a rotator cuff injury often suffers from severe pain, which may range from a deep, dull ache, to constant pain that makes it difficult for him or her to lie down on the affected side. There may be limited range of mobility in the shoulder, and that may make it difficult for the person to raise his arms high. There may be muscle fatigue or weakness. If the pain is consistent or severe, the person may simply find it easier to not move the shoulder at all. Obviously, such pain can severely impact the person’s ability to perform routine activities, especially workplace activities.