The rotator cuff is comprised of four muscles and associated tendons that work together to keep the shoulder joint in the socket and enable movement in multiple directions. When one or more of these tissues is stretched, torn, or otherwise damaged, the result is a rotator cuff injury. The severity of these types of injuries range from minor strains that require rest and physical therapy, to severe tears that need surgical repair.
A torn rotator cuff is a common shoulder injury that can be caused from repeated movements while playing sports or performing a job function. With repeated motion, the muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder socket can become torn. Other common causes of a torn rotator cuff include falling, lifting or pulling a heavy object, or bone spurs in the shoulder.
Shoulder pain can occur for lots of reasons, but if you’re physically active at work or at play, then your shoulder pain might be due to a rotator cuff injury. These injuries are not unusual, especially for active folks. Professional and weekend athletes who routinely use their shoulders during a game or workout – swimming, rowing, pitching, playing tennis, or lifting weights at the gym – are prone to a rotator cuff injury. So are people who use their shoulders in their job to lift or carry heavy items.