Your Shoulder Pain could be a Torn Rotator Cuff

By St Helena Sports Medicine
November 15, 2017

shoulder surgery Napa, CARotator cuff injuries are common in sports that use considerable shoulder motion like tennis and baseball. Specific professions like window cleaning and painting see many rotator cuff injuries. A rotator cuff tear can also happen over time if you repeat the same shoulder motion again and again. In some cases, a rotator cuff tear can occur suddenly if you lift something too heavy or have a bad fall.

What is a rotator cuff tear?

In your shoulder are four tendons and muscles that are used for stabilization and full rotation of your arms. Rotator cuff tears come in two categories: full and partial. A full tear goes completely through the tendon and in some cases pulls the tendon off the bone. A partial tear occurs when the tendon on top of the shoulder is damaged.

How do I know if I have a rotator cuff tear?

In some cases you may not feel anything that would lead you to believe you have torn your rotator cuff. The following symptoms are good indications that you may have a rotator cuff problem:

  • The sound of clicking or popping when you move your arm
  • You can’t lift objects that you could normally lift with ease
  • Your shoulder feels weak
  • You have a hard time lifting your arm
  • When you move your arm in certain ways, you feel pain

If you exhibit any of these signs, don’t hesitate to call your doctor immediately. If you indeed have a torn rotator cuff but do not seek medical attention, it can create more severe problems like arthritis.


After your doctor has thoroughly examined your medical history and shoulder, they may have you get an MRI, X-rays, or an ultrasound. After a rotator cuff injury is confirmed, anti-inflammatory medication could be prescribed along with physical therapy. If this does not work to treat the problem, surgery may be recommended. In this case, you may be in a sling for up to six weeks. The length of your recovery will depend on how bad the rotator cuff tear is. Pain and swelling are typical and can be diminished by applying a cold compress.

Schedule an appointment

If you think you have a rotator cuff injury, call our office today at 707-258-2547. We look forward to answering your questions and helping you live pain free. We hope to see you soon!

Rotator Cuff, Shoulder Injury


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