Rotator Cuff Tears

Introduction

The rotator cuff consists of four muscles that have tendons covering the head of the upper arm bone. The main purpose of the rotator cuff is to rotate and raise the arm, as well as provide strength for lifting and activities. When there is a tear in the rotator cuff, it inevitably weakens the shoulder, making basic daily activities painful and difficult.

Two primary causes of the tear are classified as an acute tear and degenerative tear. An acute tear is associated with injury as the result of a heavy jerking motion, such as lifting something heavy or stretching the arm out when falling. A degenerative tear progresses slowly and is the result of wearing down of the tendon. Typical symptoms are pain when lifting or resting, a weakness in the arm, or cracking sensation when the shoulder moves into certain positions.

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