A torn rotator cuff is a common injury that occurs in the shoulder joint. It can happen when a force is applied to the shoulder that exceeds the strength of this supporting structure. The most common causes of a torn rotator cuff are sports injuries, work injuries, and falls.

A torn rotator cuff can cause pain in several areas, including:

  • The acromioclavicular joint
  • The inferior angle or edge of the scapula
  • The biceps tendon attachment at the head of the humerus
  • The deltoid muscle on top of your shoulder



Pain in the shoulder, elbow, or wrist


Weakness in the arm and possibly wrist or hand.

Limited Motion

Inability to raise your arm above your head

Loss of motion

Loss of motion in the shoulder joint or range of motion in the elbow


Swelling around the shoulder and elbow joint


Redness around the shoulder and elbow joint


Physical therapy including stretching, strengthening, and range of motion exercises.

Injecting steroid into the injuredarea can help reduce pain and swelling.

Bracing helps to stabilize the shoulder joint by holding it in place.

Injecting steroid into the injuredarea can help reduce pain and swelling.

Frequently asked questions

How long does it take to recover from a torn rotator cuff?

Without proper medical care, the recovery time for a torn rotator cuff can be up to six months. In that time, patients are sidelined from their daily activities and struggle with mobility and feeling pain in their arm. With pain management and physical therapy, you can recover in 2-3 months.

When should you see a doctor for a torn rotator cuff?

A torn rotator cuff is typically treated with rest and physical therapy. However, if the injury becomes too painful or the swelling increases, then you should see your doctor for further evaluation.

How can I prevent a torn rotator cuff from happening?

You can prevent a torn rotator cuff from occurring by strengthening your shoulder muscles with regular muscle flexes with stretching exercises.

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