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
Treatments and Therapies
- Rotator Cuff Tears: Surgical Treatment Options (American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons) - PDF
- Shoulder Arthroscopy (American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons) - PDF
- Shoulder Impingement Treatment (American Academy of Pediatrics) Also in Spanish
- Shoulder Joint Replacement (American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons) - PDF
- What You Can Expect with a Cortisone Shot (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
Videos and Tutorials
- Shoulder Arthroscopy (BroadcastMed) - St. Francis Eastside Hospital, Greenville, SC, 07/10/2012
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Progression of Fatty Muscle Degeneration in Atraumatic Rotator Cuff Tears.
- Article: Comparison of clinical outcomes in all-arthroscopic versus mini-open repair of...
- Article: Long-Term Outcomes of Reverse Total Shoulder Arthroplasty: A Follow-up of...
- 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