Rotator cuff tendinitis

Alternative Names

Swimmer’s shoulder; Pitcher’s shoulder; Shoulder impingement syndrome; Tennis shoulder; Tendinitis – rotator cuff

Definition of Rotator cuff tendinitis

Rotator cuff tendinitis is an inflammation (irritation and swelling) of the tendons of the shoulder.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

The shoulder joint is a ball and socket type joint where the top part of the arm bone (humerus) forms a joint with the shoulder blade (scapula). The rotator cuff holds the head of the humerus into the scapula.

Signs and tests

A physical examination may reveal tenderness over the shoulder. Pain may occur when the shoulder is raised overhead. There is usually weakness of the shoulder when it is placed in certain positions.

Treatment

Treatment involves resting the shoulder and avoiding activities that cause pain. Ice packs applied to the shoulder and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs will help reduce inflammation and pain.

Expectations (prognosis)

Most people recover full function after a combination of medications, physical therapy, and steroid injections. For patients with tendinitis and a bone spur, arthroscopic surgery is usually successful in restoring them to their pre-injury level of activity.

Review

Thomas N. Joseph, MD, Private Practice specializing in Orthopaedics, subspecialty Foot and Ankle, Camden Bone & Joint, Camden, SC. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 8/24/2009

Inflamed shoulder tendons

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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