The shoulder is a joint, where movement has to be precisely coordinated, as it is a muscle-stabilized joint (with a big ball and small socket as joint partners) (Muffalli, 2012). Most tears occur in the supraspinatus muscle, but other parts of the cuff may be involved.
The rotator cuff in the shoulder refers to a group of four muscles, which run from the shoulder blade to the top of the arm. Their function is to support and move the shoulder joint and to compress the humerus into the fossa of the shoulder blade (Frontera, Silver and Rizzo, 2015).
Injury can occur from a “single traumatic injury”. Patients often report recurrent shoulder pain for several months and a specific injury that triggered the onset of the pain. It also comes with degenerative development, by normal age-related wear and tear of the tendon (Brockmeier, 2012).
A cuff tear may also happen at the same time as “another injury” to the shoulder, such as a fracture or dislocation. Most commonly it results from overuse in people who engage in repetitive overhead motions in sports such as tennis and weightlifting.
Management involves strengthening and correcting shoulder biomechanics, surgical intervention may be required to repair the tear.
Maffulli N, 2012, Rotator Cuff Tear, Medicine and Sport Science, Krager, London, UK, p: 11
Frontera W.R, Silver J.K, and Rizzo T.D.,2015, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Musculoskeletal Disorders, Pain and Rehabilitation, 3rd Edition, Elsevier Saunders, Philadelphia, PA, p: 85
Brockmeier S., 2012, Rotator Cuff Surgery, An Issue of Clinics in Sports Medicine- E-Book, The Clinics 31(4), Abstract