Rotator Cuff Injuries | Complete Anatomy

Rotator Cuff Injuries | Complete Anatomy

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The Shoulder or Glenohumeral joint is stabilized
by a group of muscles called the rotator cuff. These are the Supraspinatus, Infraspinatus,
Subscapularis and Teres Minor. They arise from the scapula and merge to form
the rotator cuff tendon, which is inserted into the greater and lesser tubercles of the
humerus. Their tendons hold the head of the humerus
in place in the concave glenoid fossa of the scapula. The muscles and their tendon work together
to reinforce strength in all directions of the shoulder and arm, and allow for movements
like raising your hands, jumping jacks, and even giving hugs. Supraspinatus abducts the humerus, Infraspinatus
and Teres Minor externally rotate the humerus, while Subscapularis internally rotates it. The most commonly injured of these is the
supraspinatus muscle. The tendons are susceptible to tears, impingement
and inflammation. When damage occurs to the muscle, it cannot
effectively stabilise the shoulder. A patient would usually present with pain
and weakness of the joint. In a clinic this can be diagnosed by a positive
painful arc test, the drop arm test and weakness in external rotation; and radiologically with
x rays, musculoskeletal ultrasounds and MRIs. Rotator cuff tears can be managed with physical
therapy, steroid injections, topical agents, massage and acupuncture; but if the trauma
is severe, then surgical treatment is required. Fortunately, this treatment is minimally invasive
and can be done arthroscopically with small incisions, fine instruments and cameras. This procedure is often done as an outpatient
procedure, which does not require hospital stay.

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