How to Tell if You Have a Rotator Cuff Tear

Shoulder pain can prevent patients from doing many of life's daily activities. Simple things like opening doors, or swinging your arms when walking can even cause pain when you have an injury of the shoulder. It is important to know when to see a doctor for a shoulder injury. 


What Causes a Rotator Cuff Tear?

Acute injuries or aging (arthritis, degeneration) can cause a rotator cuff tear. For example, falling on an extended hand or blunt force to the shoulder can result in a tear. General wear and tear through sports or aging can also lead to this injury.

Symptoms of a rotator cuff tear:

- Difficulty sleeping on the shoulder

- dull aching pain without movement

- Raising arm or reaching behind your back (ex. when brushing your hair)

- Weakness in the arm 

When Should I See a Doctor for a Rotator Cuff Tear?

If you feel immediate pain or weakness in your arm, you should book an appointment with an orthopedic shoulder doctor near you.

Signs of a Rotator Cuff Tear


Cassie Whittaker Cassie is the Communications Coordinator for Elite Sports Medicine + Orthopedics. She has been writing and reviewing medical content since 2020.

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