Redwood Orthopaedic Surgery Associates | Santa Rosa, CA

What Causes a Rotator Cuff Tear?

One of the most common shoulder issues we deal with is those of the rotator cuff. If you’re an athlete, or just played a lot of softball or baseball, you’ve likely had an issue with your rotator cuff or know someone that has. Any time you take part in an activity with repetitive motions, you put a lot of stress and wear and tear on your joints.

What is a Rotator Cuff Tear?

You may be wondering about what the function of the rotator cuff is anyway. Well, the rotator cuff pulls and maintains the ball of the humerus into the center of the shoulder joint. Of the four muscles that make up the rotator cuff, the muscle that attaches to the top of the humerus, the supraspinatus, is the most prone to injury as it receives the most stress of the entire cuff. When one of the rotator cuff tendons tears, the tendon no longer is completely attached to the head of the humerus.

What Causes a Rotator Cuff Tear?

Rotator cuffs can tear in a variety of ways. Some of these causes are putting your arm out to break a fall, dislocating your shoulder, excessive stress from lifting, or jerking your shoulder abruptly.

The most common causes of rotator cuffs are:

  • Repetitive movement: As mentioned above, repetitive shoulder motions can put stress on your rotator cuff. Sports like baseball, softball, tennis, volleyball, rowing, swimming, and weightlifting with repetitive shoulder motions where your arm is above your head are a common cause. If you work at a job like painting or carpentry, you may also experience the same stress on your rotator cuff.
  • Age: After the age of 40, rotator cuff tears become a lot more common. Usually, when the tendons in your rotator cuff wear down, your body can repair them over time, however as you get older the blood supply in the area decreases, making it harder for our bodies to repair it.
  • Weaker muscles and poor posture: Poor posture and a sedentary lifestyle increase the chances of cuff tears.

If you’re having issues with your shoulders or rotator cuffs, Redwood Orthopaedic Surgery Associates would love to help. Please contact us at (707) 544-3400 to schedule a consultation.

Posted in: Rotator Cuff Tear, Shoulder Treatments

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