Rotator Cuff Tears

What Is The Rotator Cuff?

The rotator cuff is a group of tendons in the shoulder that combine to help provide stability to the shoulder joint.  As the shoulder has a large range of motion, it is easy to see that these muscles play an important role.  With this large range of movement however, the stabilising cuff muscles/tendons are prone to injury.

What Are The Symptoms Of A Rotator Cuff Tear?

Common symptoms of a cuff injury include;

  • shoulder pain
  • weakness, particularly when the arm is up in the air
  • pain running down the outside of the shoulder muscles
  • clicking +/or popping in the shoulder with movement
  • difficulty lying on the affected shoulder in bed

How Is It Diagnosed & Treated?

A rotator cuff injury is commonly diagnosed in the clinic by a Physiotherapist or Myotherapist using their clinical reasoning.  Depending on the level of disability, the shoulder often responds well to conservative treatment such as; rest, ice, mobilising the shoulder, and rehabilitative exercises.  If the symptoms don't improve with 3 weeks or if the impairment is significant, a referral for imaging may be required.  Depending on the severity of the tear, surgical intervention to repair the tear followed by rehabilitation may be required.

Mark Gelo


This article has been written and prepared by Mark Gelo.  If you have any questions for Mark or would like to know more about rotator cuff tears, please leave your comments below.