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Rotator cuff tears can be painful and damaging

Shoulder injuries can be a major threat to the health and well-being of workers on the job in Chicago. For people who do a lot of heavy lifting or use machines repeatedly, an injury to the shoulder can cause serious pain and even disability. Rotator cuff injuries can also keep people out of work while they heal. Despite their severity, these kinds of injuries are all too common in the workplace; every year, around 2 million Americans see a doctor due to a rotator cuff problem.

A torn rotator cuff can make it difficult to engage in everyday activities like dressing or showering, let alone lifting heavy items or operating equipment. This type of injury takes place where the arm sits in the shoulder joint. The rotator cuff itself is made up of four muscles that come together as tendons to cover the humerus, the upper arm bone. This cuff attaches the humerus to the shoulder blade, allowing the arm to lift and rotate.

When one tendon is hurt in the rotator cuff, it no longer fully attaches to the bone. While a tendon may be frayed at first, it could also completely tear. While an acute injury can occur by lifting something heavy with a sudden upward jerking motion or through a fall on an outstretched arm, rotator cuff injuries are often degenerative. The tendons may wear down through repetitive stress injuries, often accumulated in the workplace. In addition, older workers are less able to naturally repair damage to tendons, making them more at risk for complete tears.

People who have experienced a rotator cuff or tendon injury on the job due to an accident or repetitive stress may face lost wages and accumulating medical bills. A workers' compensation lawyer can help injured workers to protect their rights and pursue the benefits they deserve.

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