Rotator Cuff Injury: Symptoms & Signs

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Medically Reviewed on 4/12/2019

The rotator cuff is a group of four tendons that attach to muscles that control the movement of the shoulder joint. The rotator cuff itself stabilizes the joint. A rotator cuff injury may be due to a sudden (acute) event or from gradual damage that builds up over time.

Shoulder pain is the primary symptom of rotator cuff injury. The pain usually comes on gradually and may not appear until the day following an injury. The pain is often worse at night and when lying on the affected shoulder. Other associated symptoms can include a decreased range of motion of the shoulder joint and inability to lift the arm away from the body.

Cause of a rotator cuff injury

Trauma or damage to the rotator cuff causes a rotator cuff injury.

REFERENCE:

Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/12/2019

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