Request Appointment


Ready to make an appointment? Simply complete the fields below. Someone from our office will contact you within 24-48 hours to complete scheduling.

  • MM slash DD slash YYYY
*Do not use for scheduling urgent appointments. For an urgent appointment request, please call the office most convenient to you.

Rotator Cuff Injuries


The rotator cuff muscles and tendons hold your upper arm bone in your shoulder socket. A hard fall, repetitive arm motions or problems with the structure of your shoulder can injure the rotator cuff.


Rotator Cuff Injuries

Causes & Triggers

Trauma and Overuse

A sudden tear in the rotator cuff can be caused by atraumatic fall, or by lifting a heavy weight incorrectly. Tears can also develop gradually. Repetitive arm motions – especially overhead motions common in sports such as tennis and baseball – can place great stress on your muscles and tendons. Certain muscles may begin to overpower others. This muscle imbalance can lead to shoulder instability, which can result in a tear.

In some shoulders, there is not enough space between the rotator cuff and the acromion (a bony projection of your shoulder blade). This lack of space can be caused by a poorly-shaped acromion. It can be caused by the growth of bone spurs, or by swelling in the joint. Lifting the arm can cause the acromion to pinch a rotator cuff tendon. This is called shoulder impingement. Over time, it can lead to rotator cuff tears.


Aging also raises your risk for a tear. As you age, the blood supply to your shoulder begins to decrease. Your shoulder has a more difficult time repairing itself after minor injuries. Tendons and muscles can gradually become damaged with the normal stress of everyday use. This can allow tears to happen more easily.

  • Degenerative conditions such as arthritis
  • Direct blow
  • Fall
  • Repetitive overhead motion
  • Sports-related injury
  • Trauma

Signs & Symptoms

Rotator cuff injuries typically cause pain in your shoulder, even when you are at rest. The pain typically increases when you lift your arm. You may hear a grinding or a popping sound when you move your arm. Your arm may feel weak. If you have a severe rotator cuff tear, you may not be able to lift your arm at all.

  • Clicking
  • Limited range of motion
  • Pain:
    • Constant
    • Recurrent
    • Nighttime
  • Popping
  • Weakness

Tips & Treatment

Treatment options depend on the severity of your injury. You may benefit from rest and medications. Your healthcare provider may recommend injections or physical therapy. If those methods are not effective, surgery may be needed.

  • The rotator cuff is a collection of muscles and tendons responsible for holding the bones of the shoulder together.
  • The extent of the injury determines treatment options.
  • This is a challenging injury to treat and full recovery is not always possible
  • Non-surgical treatments may include anti-inflammatory medication, corticosteroid injections and/or physical therapy.

Surgical repair may be an option, depending on the nature and severity of the injury

Related Procedures

Related Physicians