6 Symptoms of a Rotator Cuff Tear

Located in the shoulder joint, the rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that basically help keep your arm in place. The rotator cuff also allows you to move, lift, and turn your arm. Because it is such an important part of the body, any type of injury to the area or unidentified pain is definitely a cause for concern. For the most part, people who work in fields that require repetitive use of the arm and shoulder are more prone to injury in this part of the body. This typically extends to athletes, but it may also include carpenters, painters, construction workers, and other people who use the joint over and over again. Beyond repetitive use, the older you are, the more likely you are to experience a rotator cuff tear — especially in your dominant arm. You may also develop a tear from a single incident, such as a fall or motor vehicle accident. Underlying conditions, such as poor blood flow or bone spurs can contribute to the problem as well.

If you suspect you have a problem with your rotator cuff, it’s important to seek medical care as soon as possible so that the issue doesn’t become worse. The following symptoms are the most common signs of a rotator cuff tear.

1. Shoulder Pain

Pain in any part of the body is often the first sign that something isn’t right, and the rotator cuff is no different. If you experience any pain in your shoulder, you want to have it checked out by a doctor as soon as possible. Unfortunately, the type of pain in the shoulder may vary from person to person and injury to injury. For example, one person may experience a constant dull ache, no matter what type of activity he or she is performing, while someone else may only find that it’s painful when they’re performing activities that require them to reach their hands over their heads. The shoulder pain may also be so severe that it affects your ability to sleep at night, especially when lying on the side of the suspected tear. The pain from a rotator cuff tear can linger, or it may come in spurts of severe shooting pain. Either way, it can interfere with your ability to perform daily tasks. Keep in mind that the way you injured your rotator cuff can also impact the type of shoulder pain you experience. Be sure to tell your doctor as much as possible about the level and severity of pain when you go in for an exam.