Rotator Cuff

What is the Rotator Cuff?

The rotator cuff is basically a group of tendons and muscles that surround a person’s shoulder joint that works to keep the base of the upper arm bone tightly placed inside the shoulder’s shallow socket area. An injury can produce a dull pain within the shoulder that often feels worse if you try to sleep on that particular side.

A rotator cuff injury will likely occur in individuals who perform overhead movements repeatedly while playing sports or doing their jobs. Some examples include carpenters, construction workers, painters, or individuals who play tennis or baseball. Also, the risk of injury automatically increases the older you get.

Many individuals recover from this type of injury with ongoing physical therapy that enhances flexibility and improves muscle strength relative to the shoulder joint. In the case of a severe injury, which may involve a complete tendon or muscle tear, surgical repair may be necessary.


The associated pain from a shoulder joint injury may include any of the following:

  • Be accompanied by weakness in the arm
  • Feel like a dull ache or throbbing deep within the shoulder area
  • Difficult to reach behind your back or comb your hair
  • May disturb sleep, especially if you lie on the injured shoulder


Some common causes of a shoulder joint injury include:

Pulling or Lifting:
Lifting an item that’s far too heavy or doing it improperly, particularly overhead, can tear or strain your muscles or tendons.

Falling directly on your arm or using it to break a fall can tear or bruise a muscle or tendon.

Bone Spurs:
A small overgrowth of bone sometimes occurs on an area of the shoulder blade that projects over the rotator cuff. The extra bone can often irritate and thus damage the tendon.

Repetitive Stress:
Repeatedly performing overhead movements with your arms can generate undue stress on your shoulder blade’s tendons and muscles, which causes inflammation and ultimately tearing.

Risk Factors

These factors could increase your chance of developing an injury:

Construction Work:
Jobs that involve house painting or carpentry work that require repetitive arm movement, typically overhead, can cause damage over time.

Athletes who use repetitive arm motions on a regular basis, such as baseball pitchers, tennis players, or archers, have a much greater risk of developing an injury.

Your risk of injuring your shoulder blade inevitably increases as you age. Tears are very common among individuals over the age of 40.

V. K. Puppala, M.D. is located in Villa Rica, GA and serves patients throughout the Metro Atlanta area. He considers all his patients a top priority and treats them with great respect and compassion. He is passionate about helping them regain their healthy lifestyles and daily activities pain-free. Dr. Puppala uses a unique multi-approach by integrating a variety of minimally invasive methods and effective pain management techniques to provide his patients with only the best possible results. Call 770-627-7246 or 770-MAP-PAIN to schedule an appointment today.

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Contact Us Today

Call 770-627-7246 or 770-MAP-PAIN to schedule an appointment today with Dr. Puppala at his practice in Lithia Springs, Georgia.