Rotator cuff tear


Q: I am employed (since 1989) in the metal finishing industry, involving lifting of customers parts above my shoulders on a regular basis. Sometimes the amount of weight lifted throughout a workday exceeds 10,000 lbs. I have been diagnosed today with a slight tear of the right rotator cuff caused by bone spurs. Owner is arguing non-job related, bone spurs developing with age is not their fault. I would like to argue this: years of repetitive motion of shoulders above my head with weight caused "impingement syndrome" (shoulder bursitis), leading to the body forming protective bone spurs which have now enlarged to the point of tearing my rotator cuff. Is this a sound arguement? Please advise.....


A:   There are several causes of arm-shoulder pain; one of the most common is the Rotator Cuff tendinitis, tear and/or Impingement and this seems to correspond with the description that you made of your pain. The rotator cuff is a group of tendons that support the shoulder. These tendons can be injured during weight lifting, when playing sports with a lot of throwing, after repetitive use over a long time or suffer degenerative changes with the aging process. Typically, the pain worsens at night, a dull ache in the upper outer arm and shoulder, it results from mechanical impingement of the rotator cuff tendon beneath the antero inferior portion of the acromion (one of the bones of the shoulder joint), causing changes in the distal part of the rotator cuff tendon, which is at risk due to poor blood supply. You seem to have a pretty clear idea of your problem.

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