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NY (212) 861-1700
Bronx (718) 655-2400
All Office Appointments (212) 861-1700

Rotator Cuff Injuries & Rotator Cuff Tear


Rotator cuff injuries involve damage to any of the four muscles located in the shoulder. These rotator cuff injuries can be classified into three categories: chronic injuries caused by repetitive motions, acute rotator cuff injuries associated with a specific traumatic event and tendinitis, or wear-and-tear of the muscles.

Chronic Injuries frequently occur in sports such as pitching or serving in tennis. These chronic injuries will become worse over time as the action is repeated and the injury goes untreated. Falling forward onto an outstretched arm while running or biking can cause acute rotator cuff injuries, while tendinitis is typically only found in patients above 40 or if the area receives significant trauma on a regular basis.

Rotator Cuff

Common symptoms of a rotator cuff tear include shoulder pain lasting more than two days, difficulty reaching overhead or extending the arm in otherwise normal movements, a popping or locking sensation in the affected shoulder when extending beyond a limited range of motion and pain when sleeping or lying on the affected shoulder.

Treating Rotator Cuff Injuries

Minor rotator cuff injuries can be cared for at home, but rotator cuff tears may require surgical intervention to provide the best treatment. It is always best to seek the advice of your doctor before beginning any treatment solutions.

You can care for your rotator injury at home by resting your injured shoulder, icing the affected shoulder for approximately half an hour, three times a day for the first couple of days after trauma and applying heat and warmth afterwards. Pain relief medication (acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen) may help relieve the aches, pains and swelling. Always consult a physician before beginning a medication regiment.

Find out more about the anatomy of the shoulder »


Please note that Dr. Harwin’s practice, The Center for Reconstructive Joint Surgery, is now exclusively focused on hip and knee replacement surgery. He recommends his associate, Dr. Robert Ziets, as your sports medicine physician.