How does a rotator cuff work?

Asked By: Koro Wezels | Last Updated: 17th June, 2020
Category: medical health bone and joint conditions
4.9/5 (48 Views . 15 Votes)
All four rotator cuff muscles work together to centralize your humerus bone in the shoulder joint. When you lift your arm up, your rotator cuff muscles pull the joint together, stabilizing your shoulder.

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Keeping this in view, how do I know if I have damaged my rotator cuff?

The most common symptoms of a rotator cuff tear include:

  1. Pain at rest and at night, particularly if lying on the affected shoulder.
  2. Pain when lifting and lowering your arm or with specific movements.
  3. Weakness when lifting or rotating your arm.
  4. Crepitus or crackling sensation when moving your shoulder in certain positions.

Secondly, how does a rotator cuff tear happen? Rotator cuff tears may occur in two ways: A sudden acute tear may happen when you fall on your arm while it is stretched out. Or, it can occur after a sudden, jerking motion when you try to lift something heavy. A chronic tear of the rotator cuff tendon occurs slowly over time.

Thereof, what is the best treatment for rotator cuff injury?

Acute Tear

  • Apply ice to decrease swelling.
  • Anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen and naproxen may help reduce pain and swelling.
  • A sling may help support the arm rest the rotator cuff muscles.

Will rotator cuff heal on its own?

A minor rotator cuff injury often heals on its own, with proper care.

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Can you lift your arm with a rotator cuff tear?

Full thickness rotator cuff tear will normally present with severe shoulder pain and an inability to lift your elbow away from your body. When you have a small rotator cuff tear you can often still raise your arm with or without pain. Moderate tears are usually very painful and you'll have difficulty moving your arm.

What happens if a torn rotator cuff goes untreated?

Rotator cuff tear complications
If left untreated, a rotator cuff tear can severely restrict function and range of motion. The tears can also increase over time. This may cause partial rotator cuff tears to progress to total tears.

What exercises are bad for rotator cuff?

  • Lateral raises with palms down or thumbs down. This position may can increase the compression of the rotator cuff muscles against the bony surface in the shoulder.
  • Behind the head shoulder press.
  • Upright rows.
  • Triceps bench dips.
  • Single arm rows.

How long does rotator cuff surgery take?

The procedure takes approximately 2 to 2 ½ hours, however, the preoperative preparation and postoperative recovery can easily double this time. Patients usually spend 1 or 2 hours in the recovery room.

What percentage of rotator cuff tears require surgery?


It is very uncommon to operate on a partial rotator cuff tear. In cases of deep partial tears — when more than 90 percent of the tendon is torn — surgery is recommended only if the symptoms can't be controlled with nonsurgical treatments.

Can a torn rotator cuff cause numbness in fingers?

Rotator cuff injuries often present as a feeling of pain or weakness with shoulder movements, but there are some other common symptoms to keep in mind. These include: Pain creeping into the neck area or down the arm. Sensations of numbness or pins and needles in the arm or hand.

Can a torn rotator cuff cause neck pain?

Shoulder pain is most often caused by an injury to the rotator cuff, a group of tendons and muscles that stabilize the joint. The rotator cuff develops wear and tear with age, and can be easily injured. “This may cause both shoulder and neck pain,” says Dr. Ricchetti.

Why is rotator cuff surgery so painful?

The other major reason patients have pain after rotator cuff surgery is due to stiffness of that shoulder. It is common after rotator cuff surgery to have some stiffness due to the fact that the operation caused the arm to be held without motion for some time.

Is massage good for rotator cuff injury?

HOW MASSAGE HELPS. Keeping your shoulder muscles flexible can help reduce pain and stiffness in your rotator cuff. The professional therapists at Massage Envy can help you increase your range of motion and improve your flexibility.

Is swimming good for rotator cuff injury?


Rotator Cuff Injury From Swimming. Swimming is a notoriously good sport when it comes to preventing injuries. Compared to running, and the impact that it places on your joints, swimming is a low-impact, high-cardio sport that generally allows an athlete to not worry much about injury.

Can I still workout with rotator cuff injury?

Exercises that place higher stress on the rotator cuff should probably be avoided or at least performed with lighter weights if you know your shoulder is susceptible to injury, or if an injury is already present. Avoid these and similar exercises: Lateral raise: lifting weights (dumbbells, kettlebells) to the side.

When should you not have rotator cuff surgery?

If you have symptoms that don't get better after 3 to 6 months, you may need surgery. You may want to think about surgery if you have torn your rotator cuff in a sudden injury and the tear is causing shoulder weakness. But surgery can't fully reverse problems that occur over time with wear and tear of the rotator cuff.

What is the difference between bursitis and rotator cuff injury?

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TENDINITIS AND BURSITIS? Tendinitis occurs when the tendons in the rotator cuff become irritated or damaged. On the other hand, bursitis is diagnosed when the bursa becomes inflamed and swollen.

Will a shoulder brace help with a torn rotator cuff?

Rotator cuff shoulder braces can help aid in recovery by immobilizing your shoulder and can keep the shoulder joint in the correct position after a rotator cuff injury.

Where does your shoulder hurt with a torn rotator cuff?


Rotator cuff injuries cause pain in your shoulder and upper arm. The pain may be most noticeable when you reach up or out. When you turn your arm as you lift it, the tendons are more likely to rub against surrounding structures.

Why does my shoulder hurt when I lift my arm?

Impingement. When you raise your arm to shoulder height, the space between the acromion and rotator cuff narrows. The acromion can rub against (or "impinge" on) the tendon and the bursa, causing irritation and pain.

How do I get my shoulder to stop hurting?

Here are several ways you can take care of yourself and relieve shoulder pain.
  1. Anti-inflammatory medication. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDS) help to relieve pain and lower inflammation.
  2. Cold compress.
  3. Compression.
  4. Heat therapy.
  5. Muscle relaxants.
  6. Pain medication.
  7. Rest and activity modification.