Rotator Cuff Tears Resulting from Auto Injury

The shoulder has a wider range of motion than any other joint in the body. The rotator cuff consists of four muscles and tendons which merge together to surround and protect the shoulder joint. The rotator cuff attaches the humerus to the shoulder blade, mainly functioning to provide motion to the arm, allowing it to lift and rotate in a broad extent of motions.

A tear is characterized when one of the four muscles and/or tendons around the shoulder joint become damaged or injured, usually from repetitive overuse of the shoulder, or in other cases, as a result of direct trauma from being involved in a forceful automobile accident. When a single or multiple of the rotator cuff tendons is torn, the tendon no longer fully attaches to the head of the humerus. Different types of tears may occur. A partial tear is identified as damage to the soft tissue where it hasn’t been completely severed. A full-thickness tear, also referred to as a complete tear, is identified when the soft tissue splits into two pieces. In a majority of cases, tendons may tear where they attach to the shoulder joint. With a full-thickness tear, there is essentially, a gap in the tendon.

Rotator cuff tears are most often associated with rear-end collisions, however, any type of car accident can lead to shoulder injury. During an auto accident, many individuals tend to tense up and brace their hands against the steering wheel which causes the shoulders to absorb a large amount of the force from the impact. Rotator cuff tears are very likely to occur in this instance.

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Dr. Alex Jimenez D.C.,C.C.S.T’s insight:

Rotator cuff tears are a common cause for debilitating symptoms among adults. A torn rotator cuff often leads to shoulder weakness, greatly restricting a person’s normal range of motion and making everyday activities difficult. There are many causes behind this type of shoulder injury, but rotator cuff tears resulting after an automobile accident, although often misconceived, are more frequent than people foresee. For more information, please feel free to ask Dr. Jimenez or contact us at (915) 850-0900. 

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