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Chicago Rotator Cuff Injuries

In 1788, Alexander Munro published a description of a torn rotator cuff, which read “a hole with ragged edges in the capsular ligament of the humerus.” In simpler terms, the rotator cuff is comprised of four tendons and muscles, surrounding the head of the humerus in the shoulder. These four tendons act as a “cuff,” which keeps the arm in the proper position, allowing the shoulder to move in a normal manner. Although the shoulder is generally considered one of the more mobile joints in the body, it requires cooperation from the rotator cuff to remain mobile.

A torn rotator can occur suddenly, as the result of an accident, or over a period of time, due to repetitive motions. A person who experiences a torn rotator cuff from an accident may feel a sudden “pop” in the shoulder area, which causes intense pain and a sudden weakness in the affected arm. Following a torn rotator cuff injury, the following symptoms may be experienced:

  • The inability to lift the shoulder above armpit level,
  • Moderate to severe pain in the arm and shoulder,
  • General weakness in the shoulder area,
  • A crackling or snapping sound when the shoulder is moved,
  • Problems sleeping on the side of the torn rotator cuff, and
  • Tenderness in the area of the torn tendon.

Which Illinois Workers are Most Vulnerable to Torn Rotator Cuffs?

Most of us associate a torn rotator cuff with sports injuries, particularly those experienced by baseball players. In reality, many workers are vulnerable to experiencing a torn rotator cuff, and, in fact, researchers believe that up to 40 percent of all adults may have a minor rotator cuff tear without being aware of it.

The “typical” patient with a rotator cuff tear is middle-aged, and may have had mild shoulder pain for months, or even years. A large or heavy object is lifted, or an injury occurs, and the shoulder tendon tears, leading to a rotator cuff tear. Obviously, overusing the shoulder or injury to the shoulder can occur at any age, leading to a torn rotator cuff. Workers with the highest likelihood of developing a torn rotator cuff from overuse or repetitive motions include:

  • Factory workers
  • Painters
  • Truck drivers
  • Railroad workers
  • Machine operators
  • Office workers
  • Construction workers
  • Window washers

In some cases, a fall directly onto the shoulder can result in a torn rotator cuff, as can other types of accidents, including auto accidents.



Chicago Workers’ Comp for Rotator Cuff Injuries

When a torn rotator cuff occurs at work – from a fall or other accident, or from performing tasks that overuse the shoulder – the injured person will likely be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Rotator cuff tears are among the most common shoulder injuries suffered by workers while on the job. Medical expenses related to the rotator cuff tear, as well as expenses related to physical therapy, are covered under workers’ comp if the torn rotator cuff injury occurred in the workplace. Weekly wage benefits for workers, who are unable to return to work because of the torn rotator cuff, are also a part of workers’ compensation.

If the torn rotator cuff occurred at work, but was the result of negligence on the part of a third-party, the worker might also be eligible for compensation under a personal injury claim. It is important to have a Chicago workers’ compensation lawyer from Malman Law, who is experienced in both workers’ comp and personal injury cases, in your corner to ensure that maximum compensation is received for a torn rotator cuff injury.


Treatment of Torn Rotator Cuff Injuries

Basically, there are two types of treatments used for torn rotator cuff injuries. The first is a nonsurgical approach which includes:

  • Rest
  • Avoiding activities that increase the pain
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications
  • Physical therapy
  • Possibly a steroid injection in the tendon to reduce joint inflammation

A surgical approach may be recommended for those:

  • Whose symptoms have been present for more than six months
  • Who have a tear greater than three centimeters
  • Whose tear was caused by a recent, acute injury
  • Who have a significant loss of shoulder function

Surgery to repair a rotator cuff tear typically involves the reattachment of the tendon onto the head of the humerus. Full recovery, following surgical repair of the rotator cuff, typically takes four to six months.

How a Chicago Workers’ Comp Attorney Can Help

If you have suffered a torn rotator cuff while at work, you need an experienced Chicago workers’ comp lawyer who can be your advocate during your diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation. Attorney Steven J. Malman will protect your rights, as well as your future, following your torn rotator cuff injury. Call us at (888) 307-7068 or contact us online today to get started with your workers’ compensation claim.
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