To understand a Rotator Cuff Tear, we must first understand what is a Rotator Cuff. A Rotator Cuff is a group of four small muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint and helps in stabilizing the shoulder to perform functions like lifting and rotating your arm. When your Rotator Cuff muscles work in isolation, they exhibit rotational motion at the shoulder joint – hence the name Rotator Cuff. These muscles arise from the scapula and connect to the head of the humerus, forming a cuff at the shoulder joint. The four muscles of the rotator cuff are the supraspinatus muscle, the infraspinatus muscle, teres minor muscle and the subscapularis muscle.
Rotator Cuff Tear or Rotator Cuff Injury or Rotator Cuff Syndrome is a tear of one or more of the tendons of the rotator cuff muscles. It is among the most common injuries of the shoulder and occurs generally in people who perform repeated overhead motions or forceful pulling motions. It is common with people playing baseball, football, rugby, volleyball, polo, swimming, shortput etc and in boxers, weightlifters, martial artists etc. Rotator cuff tear can range from mild to severe with limited pain and movement of the arm to complete loss of motion of the arm.