How to Identify Symptoms of a Rotator Cuff Injury

by HSS on the Move
Rotator cuff diagram

The rotator cuff involves the muscles and tendons that come together to form a covering around the head of the humerus (upper arm bone) and top of the shoulder. Prolonged periods of repetitive injury to the shoulder, usually resulting from overhead activities such as throwing sports or tennis, may cause tendonitis (inflammation) and eventual tearing in the rotator cuff. A traumatic event involving heavy lifting or a fall on the arm and shoulder may also injure the rotator cuff.

Symptoms of rotator cuff tendonitis or tear include:

  • pain in the front and/or down the outside of the shoulder
  • weakness
  • stiffness
  • loss of motion

Rotator cuff tendonitis may be treated with rest, anti-inflammatory medication or steroid injection. Consult a physician in sports medicine for a diagnosis and treatment of a rotator cuff injury.


Topics: Orthopedics
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The information provided in this blog by HSS and our affiliated physicians is for general informational and educational purposes, and should not be considered medical advice for any individual problem you may have. This information is not a substitute for the professional judgment of a qualified health care provider who is familiar with the unique facts about your condition and medical history. You should always consult your health care provider prior to starting any new treatment, or terminating or changing any ongoing treatment. Every post on this blog is the opinion of the author and may not reflect the official position of HSS. Please contact us if we can be helpful in answering any questions or to arrange for a visit or consult.

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