What causes torn rotator cuff?

Torn rotator cuff can be an acute (sudden) injury or a repetitive use (gradual) injury. Acute injuries may occur during strenuous activities, such as heavy lifting or sports, or may be due to an accident. More commonly, the rotator cuff will tear as a result of repetitive use, such as with frequent overhead lifting. In these cases, the muscles or tendons of the rotator cuff develop wear and tear over time. Athletes who frequently engage their rotator cuff, such as baseball players, have an increased risk of injury.

What are the risk factors for torn rotator cuff?

A number of factors increase the risk of developing torn rotator cuff. Not all people with risk factors will get torn rotator cuff. Risk factors for torn rotator cuff include:

  • Age older than 40 years
  • Chronic inflammation of the shoulder such as bursitis (inflammation of a bursa sac that cushions a joint)
  • Excessive strain on the shoulder joint
  • Frequent overhead lifting such as for a job
  • Participation in certain sports such as baseball
  • Weak muscles or tendons

Reducing your risk of torn rotator cuff

Torn rotator cuff is most frequently a repetitive use injury and, thus, is often preventable. You may be able to lower your risk of torn rotator cuff by:

  • Avoiding activities that put excessive strain on your shoulder
  • Avoiding frequent, strenuous lifting
  • Avoiding sports that require frequent use of your shoulder joints, such as baseball or rowing
  • Regularly exercising your arm and shoulder muscles
  • Stretching your shoulders before and during exercise
  • Using a team of people to lift heavy objects
  • Using machinery to lift heavy objects

What is torn rotator cuff?

Torn rotator cuff refers to damage to one of the four muscles that allow the arm to rotate at the shoulder. Rotator cuff tears can also affect the tendons that hold these muscles together. Generally, a torn rotator cuff is the result of repetitive use, but it can occur as a single traumatic injury.... Read more about torn rotator cuffintroduction


What are the symptoms of torn rotator cuff?

Symptoms of torn rotator cuff include pain, an inability to move the shoulder, and swelling.... Read more about torn rotator cuffsymptoms


How is torn rotator cuff treated?

A torn rotator cuff may heal on its own but can benefit from pain management, reducing inflammation, and physical therapy. If the tear is small and not excessively painful, treatments that include rest, a sling, and anti-inflammatory medications may be adequate for improving shoulder function. More serious cases of torn rotator cuff may require surgery.... Read more about torn rotator cufftreatments

Medical Reviewer: All content has been reviewed by board-certified physicians under the direction of Rich Klasco, M.D., FACEP. Last Annual Review Date: May 2, 2011 Copyright: © Copyright 2011 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Bones, Joints and Muscles

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