Rotator Cuff Injuries: An Overview

Health & Wellness • N E W S L E T T E R •

Rotator Cuff Injuries: An Overview

Shoulder pain and weakness are some of the most common reasons patients seek help from a medical professional each year. A rotator cuff (RTC) injury is the number 1 injury. RTC injuries can vary in severity from simple inflammation to complete tears of the tendon, so it is easy to see why so many people are affected. Because of the wide range of potential shoulder problems related to the rotator cuff, we wanted to answer some common questions: What is the Rotator Cuff? The rotator cuff is made up of four small muscles (Subscapularis, Supraspinatus, Infraspinatus, and Teres Minor) that control movement and provide stability of the shoulder joint. Collectively, these 4 muscles are referred to as the “rotator cuff”. It is called a “cuff” because the muscles all come together to surround the shoulder joint keeping the humerus (upper arm bone) stabilized in its socket. These muscles, in addition to the larger muscles that surround the shoulder, provide the power necessary for functional motion such as lifting overhead and brushing your hair. The shoulder, due to its small socket, is one of the most mobile joints in the body; allowing you to move your arm easily in all directions. While this allows for motion in all directions, it also results in significant weakness, leading to injury. The limited structure of the shoulder

makes it subject to significant stresses from most daily activities and sports. What are themost common rotator cuff injuries? The two most common rotator cuff injuries are impingements and tears. An impingement occurs when a rotator cuff muscle tendon becomes inflamed in the narrow space between the humerus and clavicle bone causing pinching and resulting in inflammation. Muscle strain or overuse as well as bone spurs are also common causes of swelling, resulting in impingement of the tendons as they travel through a narrow space between the bones that make up the shoulder joint. With impingement, pain is often consistent during lifting or reaching motions. A rotator cuff tear, while not as common as an impingement, occurs when a rotator cuff tendon or muscle is torn. A tear is described in “degrees” and the degree of tear is determined by the muscles affected and the thickness of the tear. Repetitive, overhead motions can wear down the rotator cuff muscles and, because of this, it is the most common cause of a rotator cuff tear. The is why the frequency of rotator cuff tears is so high in construction workers and baseball players; there is constant overhead strain on their shoulder joints and muscles. Rotator cuff tears can also occur from at LSTC without first obtaining a physician referral. If your physical therapist identifies a need for physical therapy, we will communicate with your physician for a referral. To schedule your evaluation, just give us a call! Treatment for up to 30 Days You can receive a physical therapy evaluation and treatment for up to 30 days without first obtaining a physician referral. If your PT identifies a need for continued physical therapy, we will communicate with your physician for approval.

falling onto an outstretched arm. As with many issues, the risk for rotator cuff injury increases with age. Ouch! Why does it hurt? The primary signs and symptoms of rotator cuff injuries are pain and weakness in the shoulder. The pain is often described as a dull deep ache in the shoulder and upper arm. Many times with a rotator

will improve the stability of the joint and allow for motion without pain. At Loudoun Sports Therapy Center, our team of clinicians are highly trained in all conditions of the muscles, tendons, bones, and joints. Our main treatment focus is on helping you regain strength and motion while educating you on how to avoid suffering from the condition again or in cases where it is a chronic condition, we offer education in how to manage at home and when to seek further care in the future. Don’t wait to handle your problem. If you are having pain, loss of joint motion, or weakness, call to schedule an evaluation right away. Start the New Year off on a good note by letting us help you or

cuff tear, the biceps tendon is affected and people will report the deep ache all the way down to their elbow. This pain can disturb sleep, especially if you lie on the affected shoulder side. You will likely find that daily tasks that require you to reach your arm over your head, like brushing your hair or reaching into a cabinet, will result in pain. To prevent loss of motion and further loss of strength, it is important to seek medical attention right away if you suspect a shoulder impingement or rotator cuff tear. Fast action will allow you to quickly return to your normal lifestyle. How can Physical Therapy Help? Physical therapy plays an important role in recovering from an impingement or a rotator cuff tear. Hands-on manual techniques improve flexibility and joint motion preventing further loss. With improved motion, strengthening Can I come to physical therapy without seeing a doctor? Yes, you can come to physical therapy for up to 30 dayswithout a prescription. After that can I go to physical therapy again for the same issue? Yes , after a 60-day waiting period OR you can obtain an MD referral and be seen right away. Can I see a physical therapist for another new condition? Yes, you can schedule and be seen right away for up to 30 days without a waiting period.

someone you love. By: Angie Austin, LPTA

What is Direct Access? In Virginia, Direct Access allows you to receive physical therapy services without first getting a referral from a physician or other healthcare provider. All you need is to identify a doctor to whom you would like us to send a report to on the day of your first appointment. You can then be seen for 30 days of physical therapy before the doctor needs to write a prescription. It’s that easy. One-Time Evaluation

Can I see a physical therapist for maintenance, health, fitness, and wellness (a non-insurance covered service)? Yes. At LSTC, we have a fitness program for patients who want tomaintain their strength under the supervision of clinic staff. They are given a basic program that is individualized to meet their specific needs.

Under Direct Access, you can receive a one-time Physical Therapy evaluation

21251 Ridgetop Circle Suite #140, Sterling, VA 20166 703-450-4300

Our Pat ient Spot l ight

I was able to enjoy my vacation! James came to Loudoun Sports Therapy Center for shoulder pain. He worked hard, completed his plan of care at LSTC and was able to go on the vacation of a lifetime PAIN-FREE!

“My wife and I vacationed in Aruba and Singapore and had a great time. Physical therapy helped me to sightsee painlessly. I was able to walk far distances without pain and use the MRT, (Singapore’s awesome subway system) effortlessly. Reaching upward to hold the highest bar was easy and pain free. Thank you LSTC.”

Pat ient Resul ts


MY QUALITY OF LIFE HAS IMPROVED! “I have chronic neck and shoulder pain. The pain had become severe due to stress and computer work, as well as part time work with heavy lifting. Sometimes, I had trouble turning my head while driving and difficulty sleeping. After physical therapy at Loudoun Sports Therapy Center I am much improved and have learned new ways to exercise and cope with the pain in neck and shoulders. It has made a world of difference in the quality of life I now have.” ~Beverly T.

I CAN DO ALL MY FAVORITE ACTIVITIES 100% PAIN FREE! “B efore labral tear repair surgery and physical therapy, I had stopped all my favorite cardio activities (running, hiking, biking, using the elliptical) due to pain and discomfort. Now, I am 100% pain free in all activities including running and jumping which used to cause me most of my pain. I’m so excited to be cleared for all activities and get back into enjoying the activities I love. I can’t thank the wonderful staff at LSTC enough for helping me to this point!” ~Natalie W.

I CAN COACH SOFTBALL TOURNAMENTS WITHOUT PAIN! “Before coming to Loudoun Sports Therapy Center, I had horrible pain in my knee. It made it hard to domy job, coach softball and performmany daily activities. I thought I was headed for surgery. After working with Angie and the other staff at LSTC, I am happy to say my knee is pain free! I can be on my feet for several hours to coach softball tournaments without pain, I can bend down and do heavy lifting for my jobwithout pain and I can even get on the floor to play withmy grandkids! Angie was great at explaining all the stretches and exercises and how they were helpingmy knee. I amso grateful to her and the rest of the staff!” ~Bob S.

“I loved my experience at Loudoun Sports Therapy Center. Everyone was nice and friendly. I not only worked hard but had a lot of fun while I was doing it. They helped me regain my strength and get ready for football season. I could not have done it without them. Thank you somuch for a great helping experience! Knowing me, I’ll probably be back.” ~Sam G.

21251 Ridgetop Circle Suite #140, Sterling, VA 20166 703-450-4300

Clinic News

Don’t let your fitness take a backseat this busy holiday season. Give these 3 moves a try to work up a quick sweat even in the midst of a hectic schedule. What’s happening at LSTC...

Move #1: Jump Squats (A) Start with your feet hip-width apart. Keep your core tight and lower your bottom into a squat as you extend your arms with bent elbows to loosely clasp your hands together. Push through your hips and thighs, keeping your weight into your heels. (Make sure you sit back as if sitting into a chair. Not do allow your knees to extend forward over your toes. This can cause excessive stress on your knee joints). (B) Froma squat position, push through the balls of your feet and jump up into the air, allowing your arms to swing down to your sides. Land softly on the balls of your feet and absorb your landing my returning to a squat position. Repeat jump squats for 30-45 seconds.

Move #2 Lunge Hops (A) Stand with your feet together and your hands on your hips. Step back with your right foot and lower yourself down into a reverse lunge, keeping both feet pointed forward. (B) In one movement, rise up and bring your feet together, then jump up into the air and lift your right knee to hip level. (C) Land lightly on your left foot and step your right foot back into a reverse lunge. Repeat for 30-45 seconds, then switch sides and repeat.

Move #3: Plank Jacks (A) Start in a full plank position.

(B) Keep your core tight and abdominals engaged with your hands directly beneath your shoulders and your body aligned straight from your shoulders to your toes. Jump your feet out wide and back together (like a jumping jack), landing softly on your toes. Repeat for 30-45 seconds.

If you are just beginning an exercise program or are uncertain if these exercises are for you, contact one of our providers before starting.

Give a gift that MAKES A DIFFERENCE!

Ask a PT: Have a question about physical therapy, an injury or a pain you’re feeling?

Spread a little joy this holiday season! Join Loudoun Sports Therapy Center and the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve to support Toys for Tots. From now through December 23rd, we will be collecting new, unwrapped toys at our office . These toys will help give families who need a little extra help, the Christmas they deserve this year. Toys for Tots needs gifts for children ages newborn to 16-years- old.  

Refer someone to LSTC for physical therapy!

• Q: I just found out I have a rotator cuff tear. Does this mean I will need surgery? • A: Most patients over the age of 40 are diagnosed with rotator cuff tears. These are

When they come in for care and tell us you referred them, we will enter you into our drawing for a $50 gift card!

Every time we have 13 entries in the jar, we will draw a name for a $50 gift card. Then the game starts over. Play now for your chance to win and keep playing for more chances!

usually degenerative tears. Most doctors will advise conservative treatment at first which will include anti-inflammatories, physical therapy, and potentially cortisone injections. Physical therapy works quite well at increasing range of motion, strength, and stability of the shoulder. Medication and/or potentially cortisone injections will decrease inflammation and lessen pain so one can then tolerate the exercises. If you are able to decrease your symptoms and function with little to no pain, surgery is usually not warranted. If conservative measures do not work, an MRI is usually performed, and surgery may be suggested.

LSTC is proud to be an official Toys for Tots drop-off location so spread the word to your friends and family. Help us fill and refill the box THREE TIMES by Christmas! St p by and visit with us when you drop off toys.

Refer someone to LSTC for physical therapy!

Refer someone to LSTC for physical therapy!

When they come in for care and tell us you referred them, we will enter you into our drawing for a $50 gift card!

When they come in for care and tell us you referred them, we will enter you into our drawing for a $50 gift card!

Every time we have 13 entries in the jar, we will draw a name for a $50 gift card. Then the game starts over. Play now for your chance to win and keep playing for more chances!

Ask your question by posting it on our Facebook or twitter page.

Referral Card

Every time we have 13 entries in the

21251 Ridgetop Circle Suite #140 Sterling, VA 20166 703-450-4300

Outpatient Physical Therapy Specializing In: Lower Back Pain • Neck Pain • Sciatica • Hip Problems • Shoulder Pain • Bursitis • Tendonitis • Frozen Shoulder Joint Pain and Replacements • Foot and Ankle Pain • Plantar Fasciitis • Knee Problems • Arthritis • Muscle Pains Sprains • Strains • Hand and Elbow Problems • Sports Injuries • Concussion Management Program Sports Performance Program • Return to Sport Program • Balance and Vestibular Problems • Other Conditions

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