A person with a rotator cuff injury may experience shoulder pain, especially at night, and shoulder weakness.
The rotator cuff muscles extend from the scapula (shoulder blade) and attach to the top of the humerus (upper arm bone).
At the top of the humerus, these muscles and their tendons blend together, creating a “cuff” around the shoulder’s ball-and-socket joint.
The rotator cuff is prone to injuries. The injuries can be acute or chronic.
Acute injuries are tears and strains to the rotator cuff that result from a one-time traumatic event, such holding out the arm to break a fall. With rest and proper treatment, these injuries may heal over time.
Chronic injuries are injuries that result from overuse (fatigue) or entrapment (impingement) of the rotator cuff, or a combination of these factors. Athletes, such as baseball pitchers, and construction workers are especially prone to chronic rotator cuff injuries. These chronic conditions are ongoing, with symptoms lasting 6 weeks or longer.
Most rotator cuff injuries are treated with a combination of pain control, rest, and rehabilitation. More severe injuries may respond better with injections and possibly surgery.
Learn more about the symptoms of a rotator cuff injury, how a rotator cuff injury is diagnosed, and about potential treatments, including injections.