Your rotator cuff is located in your shoulder area. It is made of muscles and tendons. It helps your shoulder to move and stay stable. Problems with the rotator cuff are common. They include tendinitis, bursitis, and injuries such as tears.
Rotator cuff tendons can become inflamed from frequent use or aging. Sometimes they are injured from a fall on an outstretched hand. Sports or jobs with repeated overhead motion can also damage the rotator cuff. Aging causes tendons to wear down, which can lead to a tear.
Some tears are not painful, but others can be very painful. Treatment for a torn rotator cuff depends on age, health, how severe the injury is, and how long you've had the torn rotator cuff.
Treatment for torn rotator cuff includes:
- Heat or cold to the sore area
- Medicines that reduce pain and swelling
- Electrical stimulation of muscles and nerves
- Cortisone injection
NIH: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Disease
Diagnosis and Tests
- Direct Arthrography (American College of Radiology; Radiological Society of North America) Also in Spanish
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) - Shoulder (American College of Radiology; Radiological Society of North America) Also in Spanish
- Shoulder Pain (American Academy of Family Physicians) Also in Spanish
Treatments and Therapies
- Cortisone Shots (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in Spanish
- Rotator Cuff Tears: Surgical Treatment Options (American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons)
- Shoulder Arthroscopy (American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons)
- Shoulder Impingement Treatment (American Academy of Pediatrics) Also in Spanish
- Shoulder Joint Replacement (American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons)
- Rotator Cuff and Shoulder Rehabilitation Exercises (American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons)
- Rotator Cuff Exercises (American Academy of Family Physicians) Also in Spanish
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: The University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA) shoulder scale: translation, reliability and...
- Article: Application of Ultrasound Diagnosis Technology Based on Statistical Analysis in Rehabilitation...
- Article: Mid-term clinical and radiological outcomes of arthroscopic repair of isolated and...
- Rotator Cuff Injuries -- see more articles
Find an Expert
- Rotator cuff - self-care (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish
- Rotator cuff exercises (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish
- Rotator cuff problems (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish
- Rotator cuff repair (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish
- Shoulder arthroscopy (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish
- Shoulder replacement (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish
The information on this site should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice. Contact a health care provider if you have questions about your health.