What is a rotator cuff injury?
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. Each year, millions of people in the United States go to their healthcare providers because of a rotator cuff problem. A rotator cuff tear is a common cause of pain and disability among adults.
What are the symptoms of a rotator cuff tear?
Click Image to Enlarge
The following are the most common symptoms of a rotator cuff tear. However, you may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
Recurrent pain, especially with certain activities
Pain that prevents you from sleeping on your injured side
Grating or cracking sounds when moving your arm
Limited ability to move your arm
The symptoms of a rotator cuff tear may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always talk with your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
More Information About Shoulder Conditions from Johns Hopkins Medicine
Wear and Tear of Your Shoulder: No Gain, Just Pain
The shoulder is one of the most complex joints in the body and is susceptible to wear and tear just like the hips. Johns Hopkins shoulder surgeon Dr. Uma Srikumaran discusses some of the most common shoulder conditions associated with everyday wear and tear, including their symptoms and treatments.
How is a rotator cuff injury diagnosed?
In addition to a complete medical history and physical exam, diagnostic procedures for a rotator cuff injury may include the following:
X-ray. A diagnostic test which uses invisible electromagnetic energy beams to produce images of internal tissues, bones, and organs onto film.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). A diagnostic procedure that uses a combination of large magnets, radiofrequencies, and a computer to produce detailed images of organs and structures within the body.
A rotator cuff may tear partially or fully. Partial-thickness tears do not completely sever the tendon from the shoulder.
Information About Total Shoulder Replacements from Johns Hopkins Medicine
Total Shoulder Replacements: Frequently Asked Questions
Johns Hopkins shoulder experts provide answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about total shoulder replacements, including:
When is a shoulder replacement indicated?
What part of the shoulder is replaced?
What are the results of total shoulder replacement surgery?
What are the possible complications of total shoulder replacement surgery?
What causes a rotator cuff injury?
There are 2 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.
How is a rotator cuff injury treated?
Treatment may include:
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines
Strengthening and stretching exercises
Surgery (for severe injuries)
Information About Reverse Total Shoulder Replacement from Johns Hopkins Medicine
Reversing the Course of Shoulder Disability
Reverse total shoulder replacement surgery may be an option for patients with shoulder degeneration and debilitating shoulder problems. Johns Hopkins shoulder surgeon Dr. Uma Srikumaran explains how this technology can be used to treat people who are not candidates for normal total shoulder replacement.
When should I call my healthcare provider?
Notify your healthcare provider if:
Key points about rotator cuff injury
Your rotator cuff allows you to lift your arms and reach upward.
There are 2 main causes of rotator cuff tears: injury and degeneration.
The symptoms of a rotator cuff tear may resemble other conditions or medical problems. It is important to talk with your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
Your healthcare provider will determine specific treatment for your rotator cuff injury.