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#4630847 - 01/10/18 07:42 PM Rotator cuff injuries
Blaze Offline


Registered: 12/31/10
Posts: 1426
Loc: Washington State (East)
About a yr ago I slipped backwards on ice and landed directly on my right forearm near the elbow. Heard several "pops" like cracking your back sound right in the shoulder area. Zero pain other than very slight soreness the next day.

Since then my shoulder has never felt 100% normal. Its hard to reach across like washing my left arm pit with right hand or reaching back behind myself. The area around the tip and front of my shoulder has now become very tender and now I catch myself avoiding reaching objects with my right hand.

I've tried several YouTube clips on stretching exercise etc but hasn't really worked.

Fast forward to last night and sitting on the can one of the cats decided to get into a houseplant on the bathroom window sill. I picked up a roll of t-paper and threw it at the cat and immediately felt a "catch" followed by an audible "pop" and then pain.

I now have a doctors appt for the 24th of this month. Was wondering if this sounds like a rotator cuff injury? Or if anyone has experienced one? Most likely will they x-ray t first? thanks

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#4630910 - 01/10/18 08:51 PM Re: Rotator cuff injuries [Re: Blaze]
PimTac Online   content


Registered: 03/04/17
Posts: 4928
Loc: Soviet State of Washington
Best for the doc to decide, but it could be the rotator cuff. Does it feel better if you place your arm in a sling or a sling position? It could also be a fractured collarbone. The X-rays will tell the story.


Edited by PimTac (01/10/18 08:51 PM)
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#4630915 - 01/10/18 08:57 PM Re: Rotator cuff injuries [Re: Blaze]
Rock_Hudstone Offline


Registered: 11/13/07
Posts: 1449
Loc: New Jersey
Two years agoI had a bad wipeout running with the dog, on the leash, at night and didn't see a water main valve on the neighbors lawn in the dark.
I hit the ground hard on my left arm, still holding on to the flexi-leash, dog didn't notice my fall, keeps going at full speed and yanks my left arm about a split second after I hit the ground. I thought my shoulder was dislocated but could still move okay.

Anyway, I didn't understand at first why I wasn't improving after a few weeks. I've always recovered from injuries quickly but I think I had a partial tear.
A few months went by before I did some internet research, figured out which part of the rotator cuff was injured, then did the appropriate therapy stretching exercise, which helped a lot I also had the popping, clicking noises and the sensation of catching in the shoulder which went away eventually.

However, the recovery was very slow, over six months before I was pain free and a few more to get back almost full range of motion. Not a lot of blood flow in the shoulder area hence the slow recovery, massage and hot tubs soaks also help.

Rotator cuff injuries are serious, and don't let them push you into sugery that is last resort in my opinion.



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#4630927 - 01/10/18 09:15 PM Re: Rotator cuff injuries [Re: PimTac]
Blaze Offline


Registered: 12/31/10
Posts: 1426
Loc: Washington State (East)
Originally Posted By: PimTac
Best for the doc to decide, but it could be the rotator cuff. Does it feel better if you place your arm in a sling or a sling position? It could also be a fractured collarbone. The X-rays will tell the story.


Yes it feels better in the sling position. Another thing...its sore sleeping on that side and if I roll over to the bad side I can feel some weird movement like there is fluid or something and it will also click.

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#4630930 - 01/10/18 09:20 PM Re: Rotator cuff injuries [Re: Rock_Hudstone]
Blaze Offline


Registered: 12/31/10
Posts: 1426
Loc: Washington State (East)
Originally Posted By: Rock_Hudstone
Two years agoI had a bad wipeout running with the dog, on the leash, at night and didn't see a water main valve on the neighbors lawn in the dark.
I hit the ground hard on my left arm, still holding on to the flexi-leash, dog didn't notice my fall, keeps going at full speed and yanks my left arm about a split second after I hit the ground. I thought my shoulder was dislocated but could still move okay.

Anyway, I didn't understand at first why I wasn't improving after a few weeks. I've always recovered from injuries quickly but I think I had a partial tear.
A few months went by before I did some internet research, figured out which part of the rotator cuff was injured, then did the appropriate therapy stretching exercise, which helped a lot I also had the popping, clicking noises and the sensation of catching in the shoulder which went away eventually.

However, the recovery was very slow, over six months before I was pain free and a few more to get back almost full range of motion. Not a lot of blood flow in the shoulder area hence the slow recovery, massage and hot tubs soaks also help.

Rotator cuff injuries are serious, and don't let them push you into sugery that is last resort in my opinion.




Yep have the same popping and clicking too. I guess I'll find out later this month. It might just take well over a yr to heal but I do want to get an evaluation at this point because something is just not right. I'm 61 yrs old and this is my first joint/limb related health issue.

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#4630935 - 01/10/18 09:33 PM Re: Rotator cuff injuries [Re: Blaze]
Rock_Hudstone Offline


Registered: 11/13/07
Posts: 1449
Loc: New Jersey
Originally Posted By: Blaze
immediately felt a "catch" followed by an audible "pop" and then pain.

I now have a doctors appt for the 24th of this month. Was wondering if this sounds like a rotator cuff injury? Or if anyone has experienced one? Most likely will they x-ray t first? thanks

X-ray won't show much, but sounds like a rotator cuff injury to me. The catching sensation I believe is called an "impingement".

Popping, clicking noises, again-rotator cuff. I slept with pillow under my arm for months and had to be careful when rolling over.

You shouldn't have let it go so long, further damage or re-injuring is a issue with the rotator cuff.

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#4630939 - 01/10/18 09:41 PM Re: Rotator cuff injuries [Re: Blaze]
wrcsixeight Offline


Registered: 10/15/10
Posts: 1754
Loc: california
Rotator cuff injuries can take forever to heal.

Sleeping on them can lead to a cycle where they never get a chance to heal, as they get inflamed each night, and movements the next day cause impingement, more inflammation, clicking pain and worry.

When sleeping on that side, try a thicker pillow for your head, and perhaps a smaller flatter squarish pillow under the rib cage. This can take a good amount of weight of the injured shoulder and allow the inflammation to go down.

Once it does go down, then restabilizing the rotator cuff becomes necessary. At first using no weights, standing upright arms straight out elbows almost locked, just pretend there is a wall just outside the very tips of your fingers and draw 6 inch circles on that imaginary wall about 1 every 1.5 seconds. Clockwise and counterclockwise. Sometimes, if painful one can orient the hand/forearm in a different angle so there is no pain drawing those small circles. Sounds pointless, until you get upto about 50 and can really feel the muscles. When three sets of 50 get to be too easy, then add some light weight until 3 sets of 50 is not.

The rubber band exercises all physical therapists I saw gave me, were never as effective as the 6 inch circles. Posture is pretty important doing these. Make sure not to hunch and keep the neck up and back and bring shoulder blades together.

I've have had to get a cortizone shot, once, in each shoulder years apart before I could get the inflammation down enough so that i could begin restabilizing the rotator cuff muscles. This was 20+ years ago. The first time, the Orthaepedic surgeon administering it, had fluid come out the needle hole under pressure.

I am now pain free and as a surfer, can paddle for many hours without the impingement click clack pain scenario developing. I use no aleve nor ibuprofin anymore. That was not possible before the 6 inch circle exercise.

The orthaepedic surgeons who administered my cortizone shots, both wanted to remove some of the bone above my rotator cuff to reduce the impingement. All I really needed was stronger equal strength rotator cuff muscles to keep the ball in the proper part of the socket.
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#4630973 - 01/10/18 10:35 PM Re: Rotator cuff injuries [Re: Blaze]
PimTac Online   content


Registered: 03/04/17
Posts: 4928
Loc: Soviet State of Washington
Originally Posted By: Blaze
Originally Posted By: PimTac
Best for the doc to decide, but it could be the rotator cuff. Does it feel better if you place your arm in a sling or a sling position? It could also be a fractured collarbone. The X-rays will tell the story.


Yes it feels better in the sling position. Another thing...its sore sleeping on that side and if I roll over to the bad side I can feel some weird movement like there is fluid or something and it will also click.




I mentioned all that because many years ago I was a passenger in an accident. I was riding in a cargo van unseated and got thrown to the front. My shoulder hurt but I grinned and beared with it. After about six months I saw a doctor who diagnosed it as a rotator cuff tear. I had all your symptoms. When the X-rays came back the doctor also saw that my collarbone had broke but it healed up albeit crooked.

The idea of pain shots is good. Movement helps to heal and the steroid will help with the inflammation and pain.
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#4630974 - 01/10/18 10:40 PM Re: Rotator cuff injuries [Re: Blaze]
Blaze Offline


Registered: 12/31/10
Posts: 1426
Loc: Washington State (East)
great advise! Thanks! I have tried the rubber band method or a piece of horse elastic wrap but not any circle motion exercise and yes I did read this injury is very time sensitive as I should have gone in earlier. I just kept thinking it wasn't that bad and would eventually heal, evidently not. I think its worse now than last yr.

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#4630977 - 01/10/18 10:47 PM Re: Rotator cuff injuries [Re: PimTac]
messedJ Offline


Registered: 02/14/17
Posts: 9
Loc: GA
Originally Posted By: PimTac
Originally Posted By: Blaze
Originally Posted By: PimTac
Best for the doc to decide, but it could be the rotator cuff. Does it feel better if you place your arm in a sling or a sling position? It could also be a fractured collarbone. The X-rays will tell the story.


Yes it feels better in the sling position. Another thing...its sore sleeping on that side and if I roll over to the bad side I can feel some weird movement like there is fluid or something and it will also click.




I mentioned all that because many years ago I was a passenger in an accident. I was riding in a cargo van unseated and got thrown to the front. My shoulder hurt but I grinned and beared with it. After about six months I saw a doctor who diagnosed it as a rotator cuff tear. I had all your symptoms. When the X-rays came back the doctor also saw that my collarbone had broke but it healed up albeit crooked.

The idea of pain shots is good. Movement helps to heal and the steroid will help with the inflammation and pain.


Good to hear your collarbone healed up. I slipped and hit my left shoulder two months ago. The slight pain was gone after about 2 weeks but I occasionally feel some slight pain when lying on my left side. Guess I need to have it checked by the doctor.

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#4630981 - 01/10/18 11:21 PM Re: Rotator cuff injuries [Re: Blaze]
Rock_Hudstone Offline


Registered: 11/13/07
Posts: 1449
Loc: New Jersey
Originally Posted By: Blaze
great advise! Thanks! I have tried the rubber band method or a piece of horse elastic wrap but not any circle motion exercise . I just kept thinking it wasn't that bad and would eventually heal, evidently not. I think its worse now than last yr.


You have to determine what kind of injury you have first. Certain physical therapies affect the four different rotator cuff tendons which may be why you didn't feel any improvement. Be careful, very easy to cause further injury as you found out.

Here is a youtube video that helped me (there are many) with some test you can do at home to help narrow it down. The doctor will probably do the same tests.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MHlE5V180R4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j9z_qu8vX5Y

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#4630991 - 01/10/18 11:51 PM Re: Rotator cuff injuries [Re: Blaze]
FZ1 Offline


Registered: 02/07/08
Posts: 4727
Loc: Texas
Smart to go to an orthopedic doc. You need an MRI. Get the best doc you can find for the surgery.

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#4631000 - 01/11/18 12:15 AM Re: Rotator cuff injuries [Re: Blaze]
HawkeyeScott Offline


Registered: 01/11/07
Posts: 789
Loc: El Oeste
You may want to consider asking about this over at Bob is the Orthopedic Guy.

Seriously, good luck with this. Nothing feels quite right until the body’s right.

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#4631024 - 01/11/18 02:57 AM Re: Rotator cuff injuries [Re: Blaze]
bubbatime Offline


Registered: 03/18/08
Posts: 5754
Loc: South Florida
My sister in law had a rotator cuff surgery. She was worse off AFTER the surgery, then before the surgery. And this is a renowned orthopedic surgeon, one of the best in Florida.

If may or may not be better to live with it as is (with some therapy), than the surgery option.
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#4631134 - 01/11/18 07:57 AM Re: Rotator cuff injuries [Re: Blaze]
Blueskies123 Offline


Registered: 02/17/13
Posts: 291
Loc: FL USA
So I have had 3, that is right 3, rotator cuff surgeries. You need to see an orthopedic surgeon that specializes in rotator cuff surgery. Only an MRI (expensive) of the shoulder can differentiate between tendonitis, bursitis, or a rotator cuff tear.
In my case a popping sound was the inflamed part of a partial tear gliding under the should bones but it could be bursitis in your case.
In my case tears did not heal but I am told athletes in their late teens or twenties do heal small partial tears, bigger ones, not so much. I strongly encourage you to see an orthopedic doctor if you are over 40. The longer you wait the more damage you are doing.

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