Your rotator cuff consists of muscles and tendons that hold your shoulder in place. It is one of the most important parts of your shoulder.
Your rotator cuff allows you to lift your arms and reach upward. In 2008, close to 2 million people in the United States went to their health care providers because of a rotator cuff problem. A rotator cuff tear is a common cause of pain and disability among adults.
There are two main causes of rotator cuff tears: injury and degeneration. An injury to the rotator cuff, such as a tear, may happen suddenly when falling on an outstretched hand. It may also develop over time due to repetitive activities. Rotator cuff tears may also happen due to aging, with degeneration of the tissues.
The following are the most common symptoms of a rotator cuff tear. However, you may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
The symptoms of a rotator cuff tear may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your health care provider for a diagnosis.
In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, diagnostic procedures for a rotator cuff injury may include the following:
A rotator cuff may tear partially or fully. Partial-thickness tears do not completely sever the tendon from the shoulder.
Your health care provider will determine the specific treatment for a rotator cuff injury, based on:
Treatment may include:
Notify your health care provider if:
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your health care provider:
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