Your rotator cuff consists of the four muscles that wrap around your shoulder joint. When you suffer a rotator cuff tear while on the job, using your shoulder and arm becomes very painful. This makes even the smallest daily tasks difficult, or impossible, and can lead to permanent damage. Although a rotator cuff tear may be caused by a sudden injury or wear-and-tear over time, the symptoms are always pain, weakness, and decreased range of motion.

What types of actions can cause a rotator cuff injury?

If you often work with your arms raised, use repetitive arm movements, or apply force in certain positions, it is very likely that you will injure your rotator cuff while at work. Even lifting or carrying heavy objects can cause a work-related rotator cuff tear or weaken the muscles over time, making a tear more likely. These muscles are not designed to take the kind of abuse we put them through while working, and can tire and tear very quickly.

How is a work-related rotator cuff injury treated?

There are really only two options for treating a rotator cuff tear:

  1. Surgery to repair the muscles: Surgery is almost always necessary if you want to regain the full use of your shoulder.
  2. Conservative treatment, including anti-inflammatories, rest, and pain medication: If surgery is not viable, the main aim is pain relief. However, you can expect permanent weakness and pain in the shoulder.

How your injury is treated depends on if it is a partial or full tear of the muscle, how weak the surrounding muscle tissue is, and how fit you are for surgery.

What is the long-term prognosis?

The interesting thing about rotator cuff injuries is that the worse the injury, the better chance you have for a successful surgery. Injuries that are small tears due to repetitive movements over time are the most likely to fail to respond to surgical treatment or to be reinjured. Sadly, many rotator cuff tears struggle to heal and are very likely to be reinjured. If you injured a rotator cuff while at work in New York, you may have nerve damage, stiffness, and limited shoulder movement, even after treatment.

Early treatment is crucial to increasing your chances for a full recovery. If you have already suffered a shoulder injury while on the job in New York, you probably have questions about your rights. Give a New York disability lawyer with Markhoff & Mittman, PC a call today at 866-205-2415 to schedule a free and confidential consultation. We are committed to helping injured workers, and look forward to speaking with you.