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What is a rotator cuff tear?

What is a rotator cuff tear?

Many people know all too well the pain of a rotator cuff tear. It is a common cause of pain and disability among adults. In fact, nearly 3 million people in the United States each year see their doctors because of a rotator cuff problem. Dr. Jonathan Myer, an orthopedic surgeon affiliated with Sharp Grossmont Hospital, shares what patients need to know about this common condition.

What is the rotator cuff?

The rotator cuff is a group of tendons and muscles that surround the shoulder joint, connecting the upper arm to the shoulder blade. The rotator cuff tendons provide stability to the shoulder; the muscles allow us to lift the arm and rotate it. Too much stress can cause partial tears, fraying or swelling in the tendons. Abrupt stress may even cause one of the tendons to pull away from the bone or tear in the middle. Most tears are the result of a wearing down (degeneration) of the tendon that occurs slowly over time.

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