Rotator Cuff Tear

What is Rotator Cuff Tear?

The rotator cuff is the network of four muscles and several tendons that form a covering around the top of the upper arm bone (humerus). These muscles form a cover around the head of the humerus. The rotator cuff holds the humerus in place in the shoulder joint and enables the arm to rotate.

Rotator cuff tear is a common cause of pain and disability among adults. Most tears occur in the supraspinatus muscle, but other parts of the cuff may be involved.

Symptoms of Rotator Cuff Tear

The most common symptom of a rotator cuff problem is pain. Patients usually complain of pain over the top of the shoulder and arm. In some patients, the pain can descend down the outside of the arm all the way to the elbow.

The other common symptom of a rotator cuff tear is weakness of the shoulder. Weakness causes difficulty lifting the arm up overhead or difficulty with activities such as reaching, getting dressed, or carrying objects.

Treatment for Shoulder Tendonitis

Most rotator cuff tears can be treated without surgery — in fact, it is the small minority of patients who end up undergoing surgical treatment for a rotator cuff tear.

Non-operative rotator cuff treatments may include physical therapy, anti-inflammatory pain medications, and cortisone injections. The goal of treatment is to reduce inflammation and strengthen the uninjured muscles around the shoulder to compensate for the torn muscles.

Fully Torn Rotator Cuff

Partially Torn Rotator Cuff