5 Signs You May Have Torn Your Rotator Cuff

5 Signs You May Have Torn Your Rotator Cuff

There’s a reason you’ve probably heard of the rotator cuff — over 2 million Americans develop problems in this part of their shoulder every year. So how can you tell if you’ve sustained an injury to yours?

Thomas F. Saylor, MD, brings the latest techniques to treating rotator cuff tears at Orthopaedic Care Specialists. In this blog, he offers insight into the rotator cuff and when you should schedule an appointment at his practice in North Palm Beach, Florida.

What the rotator cuff does

People often assume shoulder pain is due to the rotator cuff. However, several structures can cause symptoms in this joint. That means understanding the rotator cuff’s job can offer the first clues to the source of your symptoms.


The shoulder joint contains three bones that come together in a ball-and-socket joint. The rotator cuff holds the rounded head at the top of your arm bone into the shallow socket formed by your shoulder blade. 

Your rotator cuff itself consists of muscles and tendons, which also allow for movement. So, each time you lift, reach up, or rotate your arm, it’s thanks to the rotator cuff.

Five signs you tore your rotator cuff

Rotator cuff injuries can happen for a variety of reasons, but they’re typically due to injury or degeneration. You can also partially or completely tear this tissue. As a result, you can experience symptoms that strike immediately or worsen with time.

Rotator cuff tears often cause five telltale symptoms.

1. Pain at rest

Rotator cuff tears often cause pain, even while resting. This discomfort often interferes with your ability to sleep or lie on your injured side.

2. Pain with specific movements

Do you have pain when you try to do certain things, like lifting things or raising your arm above your head? It’s likely your rotator cuff, especially if it keeps coming back. 

3. Limited movement 

Believe it or not, you can have rotator cuff tears that don’t include pain. Instead, they can make it difficult to move your arm at all.

4. Weakness during certain actions

Whether you have an acute tear or one that develops gradually, it’s common for rotator cuff injuries to cause significant weakness throughout the arm. And again, pain may or may not be present.

5. A popping or crackling sensation

Finally, if you notice strange sounds when you move your arm, like clicking, grating, popping, or crackling, it’s time to see a doctor. 

If you have shoulder symptoms, Dr. Saylor can help determine the cause of your symptoms.

Treating rotator cuff tears

If Dr. Saylor confirms the presence of a rotator cuff tear, he can guide you through your treatment options. Fortunately, 80-85% of people with these injuries find relief from nonsurgical treatments, such as:

However, some rotator cuff tears require surgical intervention.

The good news is that you’re in excellent hands with Dr. Saylor if you need surgery. He has extensive experience in all forms of rotator cuff repair and can use minimally invasive methods for almost every case. These approaches use fewer and smaller incisions, resulting in fewer risks and faster recovery times.

Could you have a rotator cuff injury? Schedule a consultation with Thomas F. Saylor, MD, at

Orthopaedic Care Specialists today.

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