Chad Pennington’s torn rotator cuff is in his right shoulder, which is the same shoulder he had surgically repaired for, you guessed it, a torn rotator cuff.
A torn rotator cuff happens when a rotator cuff tendon becomes torn, stretched or otherwise inflamed due to overuse or trauma. Activities that rely on overhead motion such as tennis, baseball or, in this case, quarterbacking, lead to the rotator cuff tendon issues.
You can tell you have a torn rotator cuff by the following:
- Pain in the shoulder when arm is raised.
- Pain in the shoulder when arm is extended out from the body.
- Common motions cause pain.
- Weak shoulder strength.
- A pop or other noise when shoulder is moved.
A good test is to extend your arms to the side and make a T. Turn your thumbs to the floor like you’re giving a thumbs down and slowly pull your arms into your body. If there is pain you may have a torn rotator cuff.
Diagnosing a torn rotator cuff versus a rotator cuff sprain is tough. Doctors can diagnose the issue, but may have problems exacting the location. X-rays and an MRI can help diagnose the issue. For instance, this is an MRI showing a torn rotator cuff. Still, an MRI may miss slight tears, so an arthogram is used.
Treatment for a torn rotator differs on the extent of the injury. If the injury isn’t that great all you’ll need is to rest the shoulder, use heat and cold and deal with the pain using over the counter medicine. A sling may be used in all cases to help relieve pressure.
For more involved injuries the use of electrical muscle and nerve stimulation along with a steroid injection such as cortisone are called for.
In extreme cases arthroscopoic or normal surgery may be called for.
This is more than likely the end of Chad Pennington’s career, as with each successive rotator cuff injury the tendons become weaker and more functionality is lost.