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Rotator Cuff Tears/Rotator Cuff Injury

Rotator cuff injury is an injury of a rotator cuff — a group of muscles and tendons surrounding the shoulder joint.

Rotator cuff injury is an injury of a rotator cuff — a group of muscles and tendons surrounding the shoulder joint. The overuse of the rotator cuff may result in an injury and an inflammation. Besides causing pain, the injury can bring about a dull ache in the shoulder that usually intensifies the use of the arm away from the body.

A rotator cuff injury causes pain that may lead to:
  • A dull ache in the shoulder
  • Disturbance during sleeping
  • Difficulties in the daily tasks, such as combing hair and reaching behind the back
  • Arm weakness

When to see a doctor
Immediately see a doctor if you have a sudden arm weakness after an injury.

The main cause of a rotator cuff injury is injury to the shoulder that remains a wear or tear to the tendon tissue. Progressive degeneration and repetitive overhead activity are also the common reasons for the injury.

Risk factors
There are several factors that increase the risk of a rotator cuff injury including:
  • Age: The risk of a rotator cuff injury is increased in people over the age of 60.
  • Construction jobs: Repetitive arm motions, especially overhead promote a development of a rotator cuff injury over time.
  • Inherited factor: People whose family member has been involved with a rotator cuff injury have more tendency of the injury.

A rotator cuff injury may lead to certain complications including:
  • Permanent loss of motion
  • Weakness
  • Progressive degeneration of the shoulder joint
  • Frozen shoulder

The doctor will perform a physical exam by pressing different parts of the shoulder and moving the arm into different positions. The strength of the muscles around the shoulder and in the arm will be checked afterward. You may be recommended to have certain images tests including:
  • X-rays to visualize bone spurs and other parts that might cause the pain
  • Ultrasound to create images soft tissues, such as muscle and tendons during the movements
  • MRI to display detailed images of entire structure in the shoulder


To recover from a rotator cuff injury, the doctor may recommend certain treatments including:
  • Injections A steroid injection may be used to reduce your pain that might interfere with your sleeping and other daily tasks.
  • Therapy The doctor may recommend physical therapy to increase flexibility and strength to your shoulder. It might also be the recovery process after the rotator cuff surgery.
  • Surgery The doctor may advise choices of surgery to people with severe rotator cuff injury in order to reattach the torn tendon to the bone. The choices of surgery may include:
    • Arthroscopic tendon repair
    • Open tendon repair
    • Tendon transfer
    • Shoulder replacement

Changes of lifestyle and home treatment
You are advised to change some of your lifestyle and habits to recover the rotator cuff injury and promote more comfort in your daily routine. You may:
  • stop doing what causing the pain
  • avoid painful movement
  • limit heavy lifting and overhead activity until the symptoms of the injury relieve
  • compress your shoulder with ice or cold pack

Preparing for an appointment
Before your appointment, you are advised to be aware of restrictions prior the appointment and you may prepare some information including:
  • the beginning of your symptoms
  • the movement that worsen your pain
  • history of shoulder injury
  • the spread of the pain
  • symptoms related to neck pain
  • risk factors including your job or hobby that might cause the injury
During the consulting, the doctor may ask some questions including the information such as:
  • the area of the pain
  • severity of the pain
  • movements that improve or worsen the pain
  • the experience of weakness or numbness

Orthopedic Center
5th Floor, Counter A, MedPark Hospital  
Service Hours: 8.00 am – 8.00 pm

For more information or schedule an appointment,
please contact the call center at
02-023-3333 or