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Out of rotation: Shoulder injuries can throw any worker for a loop

Twins fans know all too well how shoulder injuries can hurt a pitcher's performance. Glen Perkins is the obvious example.

Perkins is a Stillwater native who blossomed into a star for his hometown team. But since closing out the 2014 All-Star Game, he has suffered a series of injuries that have caused him to struggle to get hitters out and often made him unable to pitch at all. The injuries first involved his back and neck, but now also extend to his throwing shoulder.

In experiencing shoulder problems, Perkins has plenty of company among electricians, plumbers and other regular working people. In this post, we will discuss a specific type of shoulder issue: rotator cuff injuries.

Complicated body part

It's easy to take our shoulders for granted when they're working well. But the shoulder is actually a complicated body part, with muscles, ligaments and tendons all coming together as moving parts.

The study of this movement is called kinesiology, from the Greek word for movement. Some Twins fans still recall a relief pitcher in the late 1970s named Mike Marshall, who had a doctorate in kinesiology.

The rotator cuff is a key part of this complicated kinesiology. It's comprised of a set of muscles and tendons. These muscles and tendons keep the shoulder blade and the leading edge of the upper arm bone connected. They also supply the shoulder with strength.

With the passage of time, however, and the wearing effect of use, the tendons can start to thin or even tear. A fall or some other specific injury can also cause rotator cuff tears.

Types of jobs

Anyone can suffer inflamed tendons and rotator cuff problems. This includes office workers who have to type for prolonged periods throughout the day.

But it is workers in more active professions who are especially at risk of shoulder injuries. This includes construction workers, electricians, painters and plumbers, as well as many other occupations that involve working with the arms in upraised or unusual positions.

Sometimes shoulder pain can be addressed with rest and anti-inflammatory medications. But a rotator cuff tear is a serious injury and requires more serious medical attention. This may start with getting an MRI and consulting with an orthopedic doctor. Once this is done, there are various treatment options to consider.

The role of workers' comp

When you have suffered a shoulder injury that affects your ability to work, it's important to be aware of the workers' compensation benefits you may be eligible for. An attorney who is experienced in work comp cases can help you pursue these benefits effectively.

Glen Perkins may or may not be able to return to All-Star form. But with help from your attorney, you can pursue the benefits needed to address your own shoulder issues.

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