Conservative treatment of rotator cuff injuries.
Across all ages and activity levels, rotator cuff injuries are one of the most common causes of shoulder pain. The anatomy and biomechanics of the shoulder guide the history and physical exam toward the appropriate treatment of rotator cuff injuries. Rotator cuff tears are rare under the age of 40 unless accompanied by acute trauma. Throwing athletes are prone to rotator cuff injury from various causes of impingement (subacromial, internal, or secondary) and flexibility deficits, strength deficits, or both along the kinetic chain. Most rotator cuff injuries may be treated conservatively by using regimens of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroid injections, and functional rehabilitation therapy. Injury prevention programs are essential for the long-term care of patients with rotator cuff disease, for primary prevention, and for prevention of recurrent injuries, unless a traumatically torn rotator cuff is present. Surgical management is reserved for refractory cases that have exhausted conservative measures.
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