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Your shoulder joint is the most mobile joint in the body, and the main function of the rotator cuff muscles is to keep it functioning properly. This group of four muscles connects your humerus (or arm bone) to its articulation with the tip of the shoulder blade. Their orientation within the joint helps the arm perform complex and demanding maneuvers such as throwing a ball, swinging a tennis racket, and lifting objects onto shelves above your head. Damage to the rotator cuff can come from various mechanisms, causing upper arm pain, pain with specific movement, and loss of strength. One such cause is wear and tear. Picture this:
Other possible causes of a torn rotator cuff include falling, lifting, and repetitive overhead arm activities, such as swimming, throwing, or playing tennis.
Like any other muscle strain, rotator cuff tears are classified by degree, depending upon the amount of tissue damage present. Some tears can be rehabilitated with physical therapy and medication, while others require surgical repair.