The rotator cuff (also called the rotor cuff) is made up of 4 tendons located at the outside edge of your shoulder that form a "cuff" around the glenohumeral joint. These tendons, along with other soft tissue in the joint cavity, work together to attach the humerus (upper arm bone) to the scapula. When the shoulder muscles contract, these tendons; the supraspinatus, the infraspinatus, the teres minor and the subscapularis, allow your shoulder to complete its complex set of movements and move your arm.
Tendonitis (also spelled tendinitis) is inflammation in a tendon. When you are diagnosed with rotator cuff tendonitis, it means that one or more of the four tendons in the rotator cuff has become inflamed. The inflammation of tendonitis is usually a result of tiny tears or repetitive irritation of the tendon.
There are 2 types of rotator cuff tendonitis; acute and chronic. Acute tendonitis refers to inflammation that comes on suddenly, usually from a shoulder injury, such as a fall causing dislocation, overloading it during exercise, or lifting something too heavy overhead.
Chronic tendonitis develops over time and generally results from long term repetitive use of one or some of the rotator cuff tendons. Common activities that cause chronic tendinitis in the rotor cuff are activities like weight lifting, painting, and repetitive throwing in sports. With both types of tendinitis, the condition can be very painful and will likely have periods where it flares up, and periods when it feels somewhat better after it has been rested or the repetitive motion that irritates it has been stopped.
Although tendinitis can occur in any of the rotator cuff tendons, the supraspinatus tendon is most susceptible to injury. Due to its location at the top of the shoulder, between the joint cavity and the acromion, the tendon is at risk of irritation, wear and tear, and/or impingement. It functions to allow the arm to abduct (move away from the body) and is used for many daily activities which can lead to chronic tendinitis.
Rotator cuff tendinitis is also known as Swimmer's Shoulder, Pitcher's Shoulder or Tennis Shoulder.
Symptoms of Rotator Cuff Tendonitis
The symptoms of chronic rotator cuff tendinitis usually begin with mild pain in the shoulder that gradually becomes worse. Acute symptoms will come on more suddenly. If you have rotator cuff tendinitis, some possible symptoms may be:
- Pain in the top and front of your shoulder that becomes worse with overhead activity. Initially, the pain is felt during activities only but eventually you will feel it even while you rest your shoulder.
- Limited range of motion in your shoulder's glenohumeral joint.
- Tenderness and a burning sensation in your shoulder.
- The feeling that the small muscles in the shoulder do not make small adjustments smoothly, or pain that results from these small motions.
- Difficulty sleeping at night due to pain, especially 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.
- A feeling of weakness in the shoulder, especially with pushing and overhead movements.
Causes of Rotator Cuff Tendonitis
- A hooked acromion at birth increases your risk of rotator cuff tendinitis and bursitis as they can become impinged in the subacromial space.
- 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.
- Repetitive overhead motion such as serving a tennis ball, pitching a ball, hammering, or painting above the head.
- Lifting heavy objects or free weights above shoulder height.
- Aging; as we get older, our tendons become more brittle and therefore more prone to injury.
- A weak rotator cuff can cause misalignment, putting unequal stress on the tendons.
- Shoulder injuries or having associated conditions like arthritis, diabetes, and thyroid disease.
Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy
You can help your body repair itself by speeding its natural healing process using an Inferno Wrap™. The Inferno Wrap's patented design delivers the most effective Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy you can find.
During normal activities, the movement promotes blood flow through our body. Our body responds to the movement by sending oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to the muscles, joints, tendons and other soft tissue in the body.
When at rest, the blood flow to your tendons is greatly reduced. Unfortunately, when your tendon is injured it requires rest but it also needs the blood flow to promote the healing process. Since you can't work your tendon without danger of further injury, you need to stimulate the blood flow another way.
Our innovative Inferno Wrap™ gives you the best Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy available. The Inferno Wrap™ creates energy waves that stimulate blood flow by penetrating through the outer layers of your body. The energy waves reach deep into your muscles, tendons and cartilage, reducing your pain as they heal the inner tissue.
An Inferno Wrap™ gives you unparalleled blood flow stimulation to your injured tendon. You simply won't find a comparable product on the market. Other therapy products can not come close to offering the comfortable, contoured fit and targeted energy treatment an Inferno Wrap™ provides.
You will experience a soothing, penetrating warmth deep in the tissue as it works to stimulate your blood flow, we guarantee it. Now you can reduce your pain and heal yourself with the comfortable, light weight Inferno Wrap™.
The Inferno Wrap™ provides effective, non-invasive, non-addictive pain relief with no side effects.
When your tendon has healed somewhat and it comes time for more aggressive rehabilitation, stretching and activity, Blood Flow Stimultation Therapy warms the muscles in the injured area which increases range of motion and allows for a safer more thorough stretch.
Cold Compression Therapy
Our cold compression wraps work by interrupting and slowing nerve and cell function in the area of your injured tendon. Once blood vessels are damaged they can no longer carry oxygenated blood to the damaged tissue and therefore cells begin to break-down. The deep cold provided by our cold compression wraps slows cell function thereby reducing cellular break-down. Furthermore, because the cold wraps serve to numb the nerves, the wraps also reduce pain!
We have noticed over time that our customers are so fond of our cold wraps that they are frequently coming back and ordering a second one - this way they can cool one while wearing the other. The wraps are becoming very popular with baseball and soccer trainers, and the wraps can be conveniently stored in a cooler for quick application on the field when needed.
Always allow the injured area to return to normal body temperature between hot and cold treatments by waiting 60-90 minutes before applying a different therapy.