The rotator cuff comprises four muscles and tendons surrounding the shoulder that help stabilize the shoulder and keep the top of the upper arm bone firmly in the shoulder socket. If your shoulder is injured in an auto accident, your rotator cuff may tear. This can make raising your arm and other movements difficult or impossible and severely limit your day-to-day activities and ability to work. However, you may be entitled to compensation for necessary medical treatments from the negligent driver.
What Are the Symptoms of a Torn Rotator Cuff?
You may not experience the symptoms of a rotator cuff tear right after your car accident. However, it is important that you be treated by a doctor soon after your crash to identify the problem and begin treatment before the condition worsens. In addition, prompt medical care will help you to establish that the car accident caused your injury. Symptoms to watch for include:
- Popping or clicking sounds when you move your arm
- Difficulty raising your arm or making other movements
- Pain at night that prevents you from sleeping
- Weakness in your shoulder
Treatment for a Rotator Cuff Tear
Treatment for a rotator cuff tear often begins with less invasive treatments and then progresses to more serious treatments if the tear is not healing. While it may be good for you to start out with treatments with fewer risks, it could mean that you are off work for months while you go through the stages of your care. Common treatments for this injury include:
Physical therapy is an important component of treatment for a torn rotator to increase the strength of the affected muscles and improve range of motion. It is important to your recovery and your claim for compensation that you attend all your physical therapy sessions and do any recommended exercises at home.
Over-the-counter and other pain medications could be prescribed to reduce inflammation and manage the pain.
You could need cortisone injections to reduce inflammation, which will in turn reduce the level of pain if medications are not working.
You may be advised to rest your shoulder and wear a sling to restrict your movements.
If you have not recovered after undergoing other types of treatment or the tear is complete, you may need surgery to stitch together the torn area, attach the tendon to the bone, or remove small pieces of tendon, tissue, or bone. There are three basic types of surgery: open surgery, arthroscopic, or mini-open, which uses both open and arthroscopic methods.