The rotator cuff is comprised of four muscles and associated tendons that attach the upper arm bone (humerus) to the shoulder blade, which allows the ball-and-socket joint of the shoulder to move. These tendons can tear as a result of trauma, or degeneration from repetitive stress or age.
Symptoms of a rotator cuff tear include pain when lifting, lowering, or rotating the arm. Pain is often worse at night or while the shoulder is not in use. Treatment for rotator cuff tears includes rest, NSAIDs, physical therapy, and sometimes surgery to repair the tear.