Rotator cuff problems

Swimmer's shoulder; Pitcher's shoulder; Shoulder impingement syndrome; Tennis shoulder; Tendinitis - rotator cuff; Rotator cuff tendinitis; Shoulder overuse syndrome

The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that attach to the bones of the shoulder joint, allowing the shoulder to move and keeping it stable.

  • Rotator cuff tendinitis refers to irritation of these tendons and inflammation of the bursa (a normally smooth layer) lining these tendons.
  • A rotator cuff tear occurs when one of the tendons is torn from the bone from overuse or injury.
Normal rotator cuff

The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that form a cuff over the shoulder. These muscles and tendons hold the arm in its ball and socket joint and are involved in essentially all shoulder motions.

Shoulder joint inflammation

An inflammation of the shoulder joint can cause pain and restricted joint movement.

Inflamed shoulder tendons

Tearing and inflammation of the tendons of the shoulder muscles can occur in sports which require the arm to be moved over the head repeatedly as in tennis, pitching, swimming, and lifting weights. Most often the shoulder will heal if a break is taken from the activities that caused the problem and pain. Intermittent ice packs applied to the shoulder and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can also help reduce inflammation and pain.

Torn rotator cuff

The role of the tendons is to hold the powerful shoulder muscles to the shoulder and arm bones. The tendons can be torn from overuse or injury.

Causes

Symptoms

Exams and Tests

Treatment

Outlook (Prognosis)

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Prevention