Rotator Cuff Tears
The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles in the shoulder, connected via tendons to the upper arm (humerus). These muscles are responsible for the arm’s movement, primarily the ability to lift and rotate. Additionally, they help holding the ball of the humerus firmly in the shoulder socket.
The rotator cuff tendons can tear due to a few reasons such as falling, mechanical injuries and frequent overhead activity (e.g. painting, tennis, basketball, etc.). The incidence of rotator cuff tears increases with age. Some injuries only slightly damage or irritate the tendon; in other situations, the tendon tears completely, disconnects and separates from the bone.
While rotator cuff tears are not a life-threatening condition, they are extremely painful and can hinder one’s way of life. Moreover, they affect the ability of the arm to move properly, making simple functions, such as lifting a briefcase or combing hair, difficult and painful. Pain may vary but is generally worse at night, especially when lying on the shoulder.
In addition, the wider the tear, the more difficult it is to treat and the higher the likelihood of recurrence.