The supraspinatus is a triangular and thick muscle that is one of four rotator cuff muscles. Its function is to stabilize your shoulder joint and rotate the arm in the external direction. So, what happens if it tears?
What are the major causes of a supraspinatus tendon tear? Well, there are several reasons that can cause this specific tear. One of them is age – the tendon will weaken as we become older, and it will be more and more prone to tears. Most tears usually occur among people who are over forty years of age. Another reason for an injury is trauma to the structure of the shoulder girdle. Due to the shapes of the bones in the shoulder joint, there is a possibility of an impingement of the supraspinatus tendon, which prevents you from properly moving your arm. The integrity of this tendon can also be threatened if any of the four rotator cuff muscles are providing inadequate stability.
The symptoms are usually felt at the front of the shoulder or the outer side of it, especially when trying to lift up your arm. The pain can also occur during sleeping. As this kind of pain won’t go away, you should visit your medical advisor if you see that your shoulder is rather persistently sore. This is especially important for people who are doing jobs that require a lot of shoulder movement, or sports like tennis and swimming. As this will hinder your actions if you don’t treat it, you should get this fixed as soon as possible. If you ignore this problem, it won’t go away. It will only get worse, and it can even obstruct you from your exercises, work, or hobby.
The first thing you have to do if you experience pain as described above is visit your doctor. With a few simple tests he will determine the best course of action, and he will probably say that you will need some more testing to determine if a supraspinatus tendon tear is the cause of your pain, or if there’s some other problem at hand. After you got your results back, you will either undergo simple physical therapy to increase your shoulder motion range, or you will go to surgery. If you visited your doctor early enough, you will probably only need physical therapy. This will take some time, but you will be satisfied with the results, as you will get the full range of your shoulder motion back after several months of the therapy.