Rotator Cuff Tears

Rotator Cuff Tears

The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles and their tendons (Supraspinatus, Infraspinatus, Subscapularis & Teres Minor) that surround the shoulder joint. The main job of these muscles is to stabilize your humerus within the shoulder joint. Rotator cuff tears can happen in any of these four muscles for various reasons.

Common reasons for a tear in these muscles include general aging of the muscles, repetitive use of the shoulder, such as pitching or swimming, and trauma to the shoulder, such as a fall. Since these muscles have an important job in stabilizing the humerus, treating this injury is essential to return to full shoulder function.

Rotator Cuff TearsSymptoms

  • Dull ache deep within the shoulder
  • Sharp pain with external rotation or overhead reaching
  • Pain with sleeping on the affected side
  • Decreased strength in the shoulder
  • Reduced mobility in the shoulder



Rotator cuff tears are diagnosed by imaging the muscles and tendons of the rotator cuff.
Once a tear is identified, a course of treatment will be determined based on the function of the shoulder, the length of the tear, and any affected tissue associated with the injury.


Common treatments for a rotator cuff tear will vary depending on the shoulder function and extent of the tear. There are special surgical interventions where the surgeon will identify the damaged part of the rotator cuff and repair the torn muscle. This surgery is often done with minimally invasive surgery. Once the repair and healing are complete, you will work with a physical therapist to restore your shoulder’s mobility and strength.