Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Shoulder FAQ


I've just been diagnosed with a rotator cuff tear but I'm not an athlete and I can't remember any injury or trauma. How is this possible?


There are actually two ways to tear the rotator cuff. Trauma is the most common in the young, athletic population. Aging is more common in the over 50 crowd. Aging comes with its own wear and tear process in the shoulder.

The rotator cuff is a group of four tendons surrounding the shoulder. Over time and with use, it's possible to wear a hole in the rotator cuff. Many people aren't even aware it's happening. It a lot like wearing a hole in the seat of your pants.

Weakness and then pain start to get our attention. It's not until the person has trouble reaching behind to unfasten a bra or put on a coat that the problem is recognized.

Edward G. McFarland, MD, et al. Shoulder Examination: Established and Evolving Concepts. In Journal of Musculoskeletal Medicine. January 2006. Vol. 23. No. 1. Pp. 57-64.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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