The Rotator Cuff is: The 4 tendons (supraspinatus, subscapularis, infraspinatus, and teres minor) that extend from muscles of the scapula (shoulder blade) to the head of the humerus (the upper arm bone).
There are many ways a rotator cuff can become injured, but the result is usually the tearing of one or more of the four supporting tendons. Most commonly, rotator cuff tears occur as a result of chronic, degenerative changes that are not associated with a traumatic event. Not all rotator cuff injuries feature a complete tear, some only have partial tears.
For complete tears, surgery is required as a result of a tendon retracting or being disconnected from the bone. Post-op recovery typically last between 6 and 8 months, and includes the wearing of a sling/brace, and physical therapy.
Some additional common causes of rotator cuff injury include:
- Traumatic injury, such as falling onto an outstretched arm
- Throwing a baseball
- Swinging a golf club
- Holding onto something while falling