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Rotator Cuff Arthropathy

Rotator cuff arthropathy is a form of shoulder arthritis. Severe arthritis and irreparable rotator cuff tear together forms the rotator cuff arthropathy. The normal function of the shoulder is accomplished with the help of rotator cuff. The rotator cuff is composed of four muscles which when attached to shoulder becomes the tendons. Role of rotator cuff in the shoulder is to provide the stability.

What are the causes of rotator-cuff-arthropathy?

The rotator cuff of the shoulder can be injured due to sevaral causes . Age is a factor that results in the rotator cuff injury . With age the tendons lose their ability to regenerate and starts to degenerate. Thus the repetitive use of the shoulder leads to the damage of the rotator cuff. Other common causes include the arthritis or trauma caused by accidents or sports. Inflammation of bursitis, or leakage of joint fluid are the other causes leading to rotator cuff arthropathy.

What are the symptoms of rotator-cuff-arthropathy?

The affected patients experience severe pain in the shoulder. Movement of the shoulder is restricted due to the chronic pain. Severe pain in the shoulder is experienced particularly at night. As the arthritis of the shoulder worsens , the patient can experience severe pain while the shoulder is at rest. Lifting the affected shoulder becomes impossible due to the upward dislocation of the humeral head. A popping or crackling can be experienced.

How to diagnose rotator cuff arthropathy?

To diagnose rotator-cuff-arthropathy , a physician performs physical examination of the joints. The physician checks for the pain and range of motion of the shoulder joints. Further, imaging techniques such as X-rays , CT Scans or the MRI of the shoulder joints are taken. X-rays are the most suited option as it confirms the rotator cuff arthropathy by showing the upward dislocation of the humeral head. CT scans are used to look for the extent of bone damage. MRI are not needed commonly , but it can be used for the diagnosis as it can determine if the tear caused is irreparable.

How to treat rotator cuff arthropathy?

Some of the treatment for rotator cuff arthropathy are the conservative methods such as the physical therapy, cortisone injections and other anti inflammatory medications. Physical exercises involving shoulders are the methods considered to regain the motion of the shoulder, shoulder flexibility and strengthen the muscles in and around the shoulder. Aquatherapy has proven beneficial to people suffering from rotator cuff arthropathy. Since aquatherapy is carried out in water it helps the patients to move their shoulder in a lighter medium without feeling the stress, friction or pain. But the conservative methods of treatments are benefited only to the patients who are less actively involved in sports or other weight bearing activities .

As far as the active people such as athletes, basket ball or volley ball players are concerned, surgical treatments are available that may help them regain all their activities associated with sports. Surgical options can also be utilized by the people who are healthy enough to undergo the surgery. Partial shoulder replacement surgery or reverse ball and socket replacement of the shoulder are the surgical options, which helps in the recovery from rotator cuff arthropathy. Rotator cuff debridement with lysis of adhesions is the another option that can be considered.