Rotator Cuff Tendinosis
The rotator cuff, or rotor cuff, is a group of 4 tendons that allow the arm and shoulder to complete various movements in multiple directions. The tendons of the rotator cuff are very susceptible to injury, given the instability of the shoulder joint, their function to hold the humerus to the glenoid cavity, and the fact that we use our shoulder joints for so many things in day to day life.
Rotator cuff tendinosis is a non-inflammatory degeneration of the collagen fibers of a rotator cuff tendon. The four possible tendons that can be affected by tendinosis are the supraspinatus tendon, the infraspinatus tendon, the teres minor tendon and the subscapularis tendon. Although it is not a part of the rotator cuff, the long head of the biceps tendon may also develop tendinosis, causing pain in your shoulder.
When you are diagnosed with rotator cuff tendinosis, one or more of the tendons in the rotator cuff have developed small tears in its sheath, the tissue surrounding the tendon. The speed of tissue damage exceeds the healing process and eventually the accumulation of damage to the tendon is not able to heal properly. The tendon fibers break down to a point where the once straight, strong, flexible bundle of collagen fibers become weakened by abnormally formed fibers that look more like a mess of strands.
Rotator cuff tendinosis tissue breakdown is often caused by repetitive stress on the tendon fibers. Overuse and not enough time to rest does not allow the tendon's fibers the time required to heal properly. Tendinosis can also occur following an acute injury to the rotator cuff tendon, however, it does not appear until long after the injury occurs. If an acute injury is not given enough rest to heal, re-injury may continue to occur faster than the tendon can heal. This will eventually lead to degeneration of the collagen fibres as well.
Since there is no inflammation with tendinosis you may not experience swelling, heat or redness. However, you will experience pain, tenderness and stiffness within the tendons of the rotator cuff where the tissue degeneration has occurred.
Symptoms of Rotator Cuff Tendinosis
Symptoms of rotator cuff tendinosis come on gradually over time, eventually making shoulder movements quite uncomfortable. With tendinosis you may experience:
- An ache or pain with slight swelling along the side of the upper arm and that causes you to not want to move your shoulder to certain positions.
- Stiffness and limited range of motion in the shoulder's glenohumeral joint.
- Terrible pain at night when lying on the affected shoulder.
- Difficulty with simple movements such as brushing hair, putting on your shirt or jacket, reaching the arm above shoulder height or behind your back.
- Mild weakness in the shoulder joint, but not as much as you will if the tendon becomes torn.
- The tendon is jellylike which makes it soft, weak and unable to function as required. It may even feel sponge-like when touched.
Causes of Rotator Cuff Tendinosis
- Overuse of the tendon with repetitive overhead motion such as serving a tennis ball, throwing a ball, hammering, or painting above the head.
- Weak and fatigued muscles cause improper movement of the glenohumeral joint, creating excess stress and damage on certain tendons.
- Slouching forward can narrow the space your tendons have to move in the shoulder creating excess pressure on them. This can irritate the tendons and/or interrupt the blood supply resulting in breakdown of the tissue.
- Instability in the shoulder joint can cause impingement of the supraspinatus tendon in the rotator cuff.
- Aging; as we get older our tendons become more brittle and therefore more prone to injury.
- A hooked acromion at birth increases your risk of rotator cuff tendinitis and bursitis as they can become impinged in the subacromial space.
- Previous injury to the tendon or an associated condition such as arthritis, diabetes, and thyroid disease.
Tendinosis Treatments - What You Can Do!
The trick to treating tendinosis is promoting the regeneration and realignment of type I collagen tissue to replace the abnormal collagen tissue that has formed over time. In addition, it is essential to soften the scar tissue that has built up to reduce the tightness and improve the elasticity of your rotator cuff tendon.
Through a treatment method we term Deep Tissue Therapy, the T•Shellz Wrap® can be an incredibly effective and painless method that promotes the growth of normal collagen tissue in the tendon while minimizing the creation of scar tissue and softening scar tissue that has already developed. Without treatment, abnormal collagen fibres will continue to form as damage occurs leaving your tendon soft, weak and at risk of a complete rupture.
Although resting your injured shoulder is an important part of the healing process, resting a tendon inflicted with tendinosis too much can result in the entire area becoming weak and vulnerable, significantly reducing the range of motion or increasing the chance of chronic pain or re-injury. Therefore, it is recommended that you continue to use your rotator cuff gently to prevent the shoulder from weakening and atrophy setting in. Gradual physical therapy exercises are recommended along with use of the Shoulder Cold Compress or Ice Pack for minimizing pain and swelling, and use of the Shoulder T•Shellz Wrap® for Deep Tissue Regeneration Therapy.
Due to scar tissue build up on the tendon and the amount of abnormally formed collagen, it can takes months to soften the scar tissue and improve the tissue of the tendon. Using our Deep Tissue Therapy device, you can treat scar tissue and promote blood flow to heal your supraspinatus and other tendons faster and more completely than any other methods available.
During the healing process, scar tissue builds on the tendon and can attach the inner layers of the tendon to the surrounding paratenon that it glides through, limiting the flexibility and movement of the tendon.
Fortunately, you can treat your supraspinatus tendon with therapeutic T•Shellz Wraps to soften scar tissue and improve the gliding motion and flexibility of the tendon(s).
T•Shellz Wrap = Deep Tissue Therapy
Not only does the T•Shellz Wrap® aid in healing, but it helps to prevent long term complications. Chronic pain, lack of mobility, frozen shoulder, or a complete tendon rupture are some of the more common long term complications. By treating your tendon with a T•Shellz Wrap®, scar tissue growth will reduce, and soft tissue becomes stronger reducing the risk of chronic problems in the future.
If you are suffering from long term complications of existing rotator cuff injuries, our T•Shellz Wraps can help. As referenced on the home page, use of the T•Shellz Wrap® softens scar and fibrous tissue that has built up over time on the tendon and increases elasticity in muscle tissue, helping restore range of motion in your shoulder.
A Deep Tissue Therapy treatment increases the amount of blood that flows naturally to your shoulder -- without the need for painful movements -- to nourish tendons, ligaments and muscles - improving the healing rate of the tendons and surrounding soft tissue.
Tendons naturally receive a limited blood supply compared to other soft tissue in the body and this significantly reduces a tendon's natural ability to heal itself. By treating your rotator cuff tendinosis with a T•Shellz Wrap®, you will increase your body's blood circulation deep down in the shoulder and accelerate your body's natural healing process. In addition, the enhanced blood flow will whisk away dead cells and toxins that have built up from the injury leaving the area clean and able to heal faster.
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Learn More About The Rotator Cuff
Learn more about Shoulder Surgery and Post-Surgery Recovery
Learn more about about how the DTR Therapy T•Shellz Wrap® helps with the healing process.
Learn more about which is better for your rotator injury - ice or heat
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