Rotator Cuff Tears: The Athlete’s Worst Enemy?

Swimmers, tennis players, football players, and baseball players are the people most likely to confront their darkest fears – rotator cuff injuries. The rotator cuff is actually a group of tendons and muscles converging around the shoulder joint; the convergence happens at the upper arm bone above the elbow, known as the humerus. Together, these parts form a “cuff” holding your arm in place and allowing it to move in different directions.

Keep in mind that while the shoulders are among the most mobile joints, these can also be weak in many ways. Abrupt, extreme, and repetitive stress can result in partial tears and swelling in the rotator cuff especially in the tendons, which cause symptoms like pain in the arm and shoulders, tenderness and weakness in the shoulder, and crackling and snapping sounds during shoulder movement, among others.

Fortunately, many rotator cuff tears will heal on their own especially when given time (i.e., putting as little stress as possible). You should, nonetheless, visit doctors at any of our clinics, such as the one at Garden Grove near Stanton, Santa Ana, and Westminster, to look at your injury for proper management.

You will be advised to adopt the following home care methods, too:

  • Rest your affected joint as much as possible, which means avoiding any activity and movement that causes pain. Ask your doctor about the necessity for a sling.
  • Place a cold compress on your affected shoulder two to three times a day, which will reduce pain and swelling.
  • Perform range-of-motion exercises that your doctor will recommend.
  • Undergo physical therapy, which will strengthen the affected joint, at the Healthpointe clinic.
  • Take anti-inflammatory painkillers like Motrin, Aleve, and Advil but be sure to ask your doctor for the right dose to reduce the risks for side effects

You may require surgery if you have a serious rotator cuff injury. Your doctor may recommend shoulder arthroscopy, an outpatient procedure requiring general anesthesia. During the procedure, your doctor will insert a small camera into your affected shoulder, see the damage, and repair the tear. After the procedure, your arm will likely be in a sling for 2-3 weeks and you will be required to undergo physical therapy to regain normal movement.

You will be able to get back into your normal activities including sports depending on your recovery pace, which can take weeks or months. Just make sure not to rush into things.

Come to any of the Healthpointe clinics, such as the one at Irwindale near Duarte, Azusa, West Covina, Vincent, and Mayflower Village, for management of your rotator cuff injuries.

About Healthpointe:

Healthpointe is a leading multidisciplinary healthcare organization offering a full range of medical services in practice locations throughout Southern California (Los Angeles County, Orange County, San Bernardino County, and Riverside County). Healthpointe has locations situated in over 10 cities in Southern California including Irwindale by Duarte, Azusa, West Covina, Vincent, and Mayflower Village. As a highly regarded musculoskeletal group, we have a personal investment in the highest level of service, and we are proud of our record of excellence over the last four decades with private patients, injured workers, urgent care, personal injuries, and professional and non-professional athletes. Leading our organization is a dynamic team of healthcare professionals who continually strive to be at the forefront of medical innovation and healthcare service delivery. For more information, a complete list of services, and Healthpointe locations, visit


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