The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles that assist in the stability and motion of the shoulder. These muscles attach from the back and underside of the shoulder blade (scapula) and combine to form several tendons that attach to the "ball'" part of the shoulder. When one or more of the tendons in the rotator cuff is torn, this is known as a rotator cuff tear. These tears can be a full or partial tear, and they normally begin with fraying of the tendon.
Rotator Cuff tears may cause some or all of the following symptoms:
- Pain usually over the side and top of the shoulder. Pain is usually worse with overhead and "out-to-the-side" movements.
- Stiffness usually occurs as the pain increases.
- Weakness with movements overhead and 'away-from-the-body'.
- Popping may be present with shoulder motion.
- Loss of Sleep due to pain from lying on the shoulder compressing the tendons.