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Rotator Cuff Tear Treatment

Updated: May 5, 2022

Rotator Cuff Anatomy

Rotator cuff tears are among the most common shoulder injuries that people suffer. Each year, 2 million people see a physician for a rotator cuff injury in the United States according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. It is important to understand exactly what comprises the rotator cuff and how it becomes torn.

rotator cuff tear treatment
Jmarchn, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

The above image shows the back of the shoulder including three out of four rotator cuff muscles. Overall, the rotator cuff secures the head of the humerus in the shoulder joint and helps maintain the joint stability with movement. The four rotator cuff muscles come together to aid the labrum of the shoulder in securing the humerus. The shoulder is the most mobile joint in the body and it relies on muscular support more than any other joint. The rotator cuff muscles are the most important muscles in terms of shoulder joint support.

As I mentioned, the main purpose of the rotator cuff muscles is to support the shoulder, but they all have other functions as well. The supraspinatus primarily helps elevate the arm as you go overhead. The infraspinatus and teres minor help with external rotation, while the subscapularis creates internal rotation.