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3 Symptoms You May Not Realize Are Caused By a Rotator Cuff Tear

Do you feel pain in your shoulder when doing simple activities, such as getting dressed or combing your hair? Chances are you may have a rotator cuff tear. In this post, Otis R. Drew, MD, will walk you through the causes and symptoms of rotator cuff tears and explain what you can do about them.

The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that help strengthen and stabilize your shoulder joint. They hold the head of your humerus (upper arm bone) in the shoulder socket, enabling you to turn and lift your arms. Injuries or damage to these tissues can cause discomfort, pain, and other complications.


In most cases, rotator cuff injuries originate from repetitive strain or wear and tear as you age. Regarding repetitive strain, many people get rotator cuff injuries playing sports that involve a lot of shoulder movements, such as tennis, swimming, baseball, and weightlifting.

Regarding the aging process, bony overgrowths, or bone spurs, might lead to tears in rotator cuff tendons. Furthermore, a decreasing supply of blood to the tendons can slow the healing process.


Symptoms of a rotator cuff injury can range from minor to chronic. Let’s take a look at three types of rotator cuff problems and the symptoms related to them:

1. Acute tear

The common symptom of acute rotator cuff tears, which usually go away after a period of time, include:

2. Chronic tear

Symptoms of chronic rotator cuff tears, which usually go on for a long period of time, include:

3. Rotator cuff tendinitis

Rotator cuff tendinitis is prevalent in women aged 35-50. Symptoms include:


To determine if you’re suffering from a rotator cuff injury, Dr. Drew will look at your injury history and perform a physical test on your affected shoulder. Dr. Drew will check your muscle strength and range of motion. He will also look at the movements that cause pain to your shoulder. Additionally, he may use the following tests:

TreatmentPopular treatments Dr. Drew offers include:

To find out more about treating rotator cuff injuries or to learn ways to prevent them, book an appointment online or over the phone with Otis R. Drew, MD today.

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