Rotator Cuff Tear From Vehicle Crash

Can a rotator cuff tear happen during a car crash? Yes, such an injury can restrict shoulder motion and cause pain. The shoulder joint is made up of muscles and tendons surrounding the bones of the shoulder joint. Interaction between the muscles and tendons permit a wide range of motion. A rotator cuff tear generally refers to a tear in one of the tendons. This can happen in an accident or over time with repetitive use. A shoulder injury of this type can be quite painful and limit a person’s ability to move their arm and shoulder.

Common symptoms of a rotator cuff tear include:

  • Pain in the neck or upper back
  • Pain in the shoulder
  • Limited range of motion of the shoulder joint
  • Pain raising arm or inability to raise arm above head
  • Muscle weakness
  • Pain that radiates down the arm
  • Swelling
  • Weakness in the shoulder
  • Popping or clicking moving the shoulder
  • Sleep difficulties laying on the shoulder

Rotator cuff tears are diagnosed via physical examination testing and via radiology studies, such as an X-ray, MRI or ultrasound. A doctor should be consulted soon after a car accident to obtain an accurate rotator cuff tear diagnosis and obtain treatment. Sometimes physical therapy will result in improvement. Sometimes injections my help. In other cases surgical repair may be needed.

Sometimes age based deterioration can lead to a tear in even a low speed impact crash. Your doctor will need an accurate medical history to determine the status of the shoulder before the accident. Insurance carriers like to argue that the car crash had nothing to do with a rotator cuff injury, and that pain and lack of ability to move the shoulder is just coincidentally tied to a crash and was bound to happen anyway. But, of course rotator cuff tears are frequently seen in collision cases in front-end as well as rear-end collisions. In a rear-end impact case a persom may see the crash impact coming in a rearview mirror or hear tires squeal leading to a driver to brace for impact which can put the shoulder in an unrelaxed position. Tense muscles lead to the shoulder absorbing a good amount of the force during the impact and can easily cause a rotator cuff tear.

A person diagnosed with a rotator cuff tear after an accident with no symptoms before the crash makes it likely that the injury was caused by the collision. But, many factors go into making the diagnosis and determining the cause of the symptoms. This is why it is important to report all symptoms when consulting a doctor following a collision. Sometimes shoulder pain, when neck pain is also present, gets mixed together as general upper back pain, so it is important to think about and accurately report pains and symptoms when responding to questions by a doctor conducting a post crash exam.

If you have been injured as the result of someone’s negligence please pick up the phone and call +1 (219) 736-9700 to speak with The Law Offices of David W Holub. The firm concentrates in personal injury cases of all types, medical malpractice, and wrongful death litigation.

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