Information for Patients
Rotator Cuff Injuries
Your rotator cuff is located in your shoulder area. It is made of muscles and tendons. It helps your shoulder to move and stay stable. Problems with the rotator cuff are common. They include tendinitis, bursitis, and injuries such as tears.
Rotator cuff tendons can become inflamed from frequent use or aging. Sometimes they are injured from a fall on an outstretched hand. Sports or jobs with repeated overhead motion can also damage the rotator cuff. Aging causes tendons to wear down, which can lead to a tear.
Some tears are not painful, but others can be very painful. Treatment for a torn rotator cuff depends on age, health, how severe the injury is, and how long you've had the torn rotator cuff.
Treatment for torn rotator cuff includes:
- Heat or cold to the sore area
- Medicines that reduce pain and swelling
- Electrical stimulation of muscles and nerves
- Cortisone injection
NIH: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Disease
Shoulder Injuries and Disorders
Your shoulder joint is composed of three bones: the clavicle (collarbone), the scapula (shoulder blade), and the humerus (upper arm bone). Your shoulders are the most movable joints in your body. They can also be unstable because the ball of the upper arm is larger than the shoulder socket that holds it. To remain in a stable or normal position, the shoulder must be anchored by muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
Because your shoulder can be unstable, it can be easily injured. Common problems include
- Sprains and strains
- Torn rotator cuffs
- Frozen shoulder
Health care providers diagnose shoulder problems by using your medical history, a physical exam, and imaging tests.
Often, the first treatment for shoulder problems is RICE. This stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Other treatments include exercise and medicines to reduce pain and swelling. If those don't work, you may need surgery.
NIH: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases