Rotator Cuff Tear: A Common and Debilitating Motorcycle Accident Injury
The human body isn’t designed to handle the blunt force trauma of a motorcycle accident. As a result, debilitating injuries can occur. One type of motorcycle accident-related injury that can sometimes be debilitating is a rotator cuff tear. Because the rotator cuff is used in many daily activities from lifting an item overhead to brushing one’s hair and getting dressed, a torn rotator cuff can make normal tasks too painful to perform.
Understanding Rotator Cuff Injuries That Happen in Motorcycle Accidents
When a collision causes a motorcycle operator to fall off a bike, it is possible that the motorcyclist will fall onto his or her outstretched arm. When this happens, an acute tear can be the result, and a rider will feel immediate pain and weakness in the affected upper arm. Additionally, a snapping sensation can occur upon impact, and a crackling sound can result when moving the affected shoulder.
Because the rotator cuff is located in the shoulder, rotator cuff injuries often occur alongside other shoulder injuries such as a clavicle fracture and dislocated shoulder. This is because the shoulder is complex and delicate, made up of three bones: collarbone (clavicle), shoulder blade (scapula), and upper arm bone (humerus).
How the Rotator Cuff Is Designed to Work
In order to understand how the rotator cuff works, it is important to know that the rotator cuff is made up of four muscles that cover the head of the upper arm bone—helping to hold the arm in the shoulder. Because the rotator cuff helps to move, rotate, and stabilize the shoulder, damage to any of the four muscles can prevent the rotator cuff from doing its job and lifting the arm. Of course, this depends on whether the tear is a partial or full tear.
Treating a Torn Rotator Cuff
First, tests such as x-rays, ultrasound, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) tests will be performed to help your doctor diagnose your injury. The MRI test is typically the best test to show soft tissues of the shoulder and the size of the tear. If a partial tear is diagnosed, nonsurgical treatment might be the result. However, if a complete tear is found, surgery will be required to fix the hole in the tendon in order to restore function and reduce pain.
Unfortunately, a rotator cuff tear can cause serious pain and prevent an injured motorcycle accident victim from getting back to normal life. Whether a victim needs to undergo physical therapy or surgery and rehabilitation, life is impacted for months. During this time, an injured motorcyclist may not be able to ride, work, or take care of himself or herself. As a result, money will be needed to cover the cost of living and lost wages during this time.
If you have suffered a torn rotator cuff in a motorcycle wreck due to someone else’s recklessness, please call our office to discuss your potential case in a free consultation at at (301) 942-9118.