Warren Sapp injured reserve – torn rotator cuff diagnosis and treatment


Warren Sapp is a big man with a big mouth. That big mouth was silenced on November 27, 2005 when he went onto the injured reserve list with a torn rotator cuff. Playing for the Oakland Raiders, Warren hasn’t enjoyed the same success he had with the Tampa Bay Buccanneers. This year hasn’t been much different since he only had 29 tackles and 5 sacks before the torn rotator cuff.

How can you tell if you have a torn rotator cuff? If you are having shoulder pain that doesn’t relieve itself no matter what position you place your arm in, try this test. Stand up, hold your arms out to your side with the palms to the floor. Make a thumbs up sign like Fonzi did, then slowly rotate your thumb toward the ground. When your thumb is pointing down begin to lower your arms while keeping them straight. If you begin to cry or experience major pain, you probably have a torn rotator cuff.

What is a rotator cuff? The rotator cuff is a set of muscles and tendons whose sole job is to stabilize your shoulder. Think of it as the bread outside the meat of your shoulder. The way your shoulder bones rest in this bundle can be thought of as a gold ball on a tee. There are four muscles that make up the rotator cuff and they are:

  • Supraspinatus – This pulls the arm away from the body.
  • Infraspinatus – This allows the arm to rotate sideways.
  • Teres – This also allows the arm to rotate sideways.
  • Subscapularis – This allows medial rotation of  the humerus.

What is a torn rotator cuff? A torn rotator cuff occurs when the muscles or tendons become worn, frayed or torn.

What are the symptoms of a torn rotator cuff?

  • Pain
  • Inability to lift your arm
  • Difficulty lifting any weight with your arm

Healthy Shoulder Handbook: 100 Exercises for Treating and Preventing Frozen Shoulder, Rotator Cuff and other Common Injuries

What is the treatment for a torn rotator cuff? For most people you can recover from a torn rotator cuff by going to physical therapy and taking anti-inflammatory medicine. Warning: The physical therapy is extremely painful. For rare cases or professional athletes surgery is called for.

How do you rehabilitate a torn rotator cuff? Range of motion exercises and flexibility training are the only way to rehabilitate a torn rotator cuff.

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