Rotator cuff injuries can be painful and even debilitating, affecting millions of people worldwide. The rotator cuff is a group of tendons and muscles that surround the shoulder joint, providing stability and allowing for a wide range of motion. If you have shoulder pain and suspect an injury to your rotator cuff, read on to learn the different types, how it’s diagnosed, available treatment options, and the long-term prognosis for patients.
What a rotator cuff injury feels like: A rotator cuff injury can cause a variety of symptoms, including:
- Pain in the shoulder or upper arm, especially when lifting or reaching overhead
- Weakness in the affected arm
- Difficulty with certain movements, such as reaching behind the back or lifting objects
- A clicking or popping sensation in the shoulder
- Limited range of motion
Different types of rotator cuff injuries
Injuries can range from mild strains to complete tears. The severity of the injury determines the treatment approach. The different types of injuries include:
- Rotator cuff strain: A mild injury characterized by stretched or partially torn tendons, often caused by overuse or sudden trauma.
- Partial tear: A more significant injury where a part of the tendon is torn but still intact.
- Full tear: The tendon is completely severed, resulting in a complete tear.
- Degenerative tear: The tendon gradually weakens and tears over time due to aging, repetitive stress, or wear and tear.