Torn rotator cuff

Picture of torn rotator cuff

Illustration copyright 2000 by Nucleus Communications, Inc. All rights reserved. http://www.nucleusinc.com

The rotator cuff is the group of tendons and related muscles that help keep the upper arm bone seated in the socket of the shoulder blade. A torn rotator cuff tendon can cause pain, weakness, and limited range of motion in the shoulder.

A rotator cuff tear may be:

  • Partial, in which only part of the fibers of the tendon are torn.
  • Complete or full thickness, in which the tendon is torn all the way through.

Last Updated: January 7, 2010

Author: Shannon Erstad, MBA/MPH

Medical Review: William M. Green, MD - Emergency Medicine & Patrick J. McMahon, MD - Orthopedics

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