The rotator cuff is composed of muscles and tendons around the shoulder joint. The surrounding muscles allow a person to lift and rotate the arms, and keep the upper arm bone in the shoulder socket.
If you notice that your child is hurting whenever he reaches behind his back or winces when reaching for the seat belt, this could be due to a rotator cuff injury. Shoulder pain when attempting to reach or lift, or even when at rest is the first sign of a rotator cuff injury. A snapping or a cracking sound can also accompany the shoulder pain.
This type of injury frequently happens to children who are involved in sports and perform overhead motions repeatedly. Young athletes such as baseball pitchers, archers, and tennis players are especially susceptible.
An early diagnosis and treatment of a rotator cuff injury can make a huge difference. It is important to see a family doctor once your child experiences a loss of motion after getting the shoulder injured. The pain can be treated with medication, as well as a combination of stretching and exercises to make the shoulder stronger and more flexible over time.
If the shoulder pain still remains for a long time, your child will need to be seen immediately by a San Diego orthopedic doctor, and surgery can be done if the injury is severe. A traditional open surgery is used for large rotator cuff tears, while an arthroscopic surgery is recommended for a smaller one. The latter is minimally invasive where a small camera called the arthroscope is inserted in the incision so that the surgeon can see the rotator cuff tear in greater detail and fix it. If the injury is left untreated, it can lead to a degeneration of the joint.