What Does It Feel Like If You Have A Torn Rotator Cuff?

Your rotator cuff is composed of muscles and tendons in the shoulder that keep the ball of the upper arm bone in the shoulder socket, per the Cleveland Clinic. When the tendons tear or separate from the bone, it can result in a torn rotator cuff. These injuries are somewhat common, occurring more often in older adults. There are two types of rotator cuff tears: partial and complete. With a partial tear, the tendon is still attached to the bone in the arm. With a complete tear, the tendon is not attached to the bone.

If you happen to tear your rotator cuff during a single accident, you may feel extreme pain and your arm will feel weak. Tears that accumulate over a period of time may hurt mildly from time to time and get worse over the years. Tears can also be caused by bone spurs, decreased blood flow, and repetitive use.

Everyday activities may become more difficult

Usually, a torn rotator cuff will hurt (via Mayo Clinic). The pain is dull, and it feels like it is coming from deep inside the shoulder. You may also feel pain when you lift your arm over your head while performing common activities, like taking off a shirt or brushing your hair. In some cases, you might not be able to pick up anything without some amount of pain, and the shoulder might pop when moving it around. Eventually, shoulder pain could also get worse at night and hurt more when sleeping on the affected shoulder.

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons explains that 80 to 85% of rotator cuff tears don't require surgery. It's important to rest your shoulder and avoid activities that cause pain. Strengthening exercises and physical therapy may also be necessary to prevent injuries in the future. Steroid injections might help some patients, but not always. If you continue to experience chronic shoulder pain, or if the shoulder becomes red, swollen, and tender, it's best to visit your doctor.