What is Rotator Injury or Tear?

  • A rotator cuff tear is a common cause of pain and disability among adults.
  • A torn rotator cuff will weaken your shoulder.
  • This means that many daily activities, like combing your hair or getting dressed, may become painful and difficult to do.

Your rotator cuff keeps your arm in your shoulder socket. The muscles and tendons cover the upper arm bone and connect it to your should blade. The bursa (a lubricating sac) located between your rotator cuff and the bone on top of your shoulder permits the rotator cuff tendons to move smoothly when you move your arm. Rotator cuff tendons can become irritated or injured. The bursa can become inflamed and swell causing more pain. The bone on the top of your shoulder can rub against (impinge upon) the tendon and the bursa causing inflammation and pain. These conditions comprise the diagnosis of Shoulder Impingement/Rotator Cuff Tendinitis. Repeated lifting or overhead activities that extend the arm or minor injury can cause these conditions.

Our Treatment Approach

Lumin OrthoCARE shoulder specialists have treated thousands of athletes and individuals suffering from Shoulder Impingement/Rotator Cuff Tendinitis. Your physician will examine your shoulder and check for any tenderness or deformity. He or she will also evaluate your shoulder’s range of motion and will check to make sure other issues like arthritis are not causing the problems with your shoulder. Your physician will probably order X-rays and perhaps an MRI to visualize the soft tissues of your shoulder, including your rotator cuff. Our shoulder specialists will pursue conservative treatments first. These include:

  • Rest and ceasing the activity that is contributing to the condition
  • Over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications
  • Physical therapy
  • Steroid injections

If conservative approaches don’t prove satisfactory, your physician may recommend surgery. Surgery is designed to enlarge the space for the rotator cuff by removing the inflamed portion of the bursa. Surgery can be performed with the arthroscope using minimally invasive techniques, or with the open technique. After surgery, your physician will prescribe a rehabilitation regimen of exercises designed to strengthen your shoulder and improve its flexibility and range of motion.


  • Common in young athletes and middle-aged people
  • Repeated overhead movement of the arm
  • Minor injury


  • Initially, minor pain radiating from the front of the shoulder to the side of the arm
  • Lifting and reaching movements that produce sudden pain
  • Athletes who participate in overhead sports that involve throwing and tossing
  • As the condition progresses, pain at night
  • Difficulty placing the arm behind the back
  • Loss of strength and motion.

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