Rotator Cuff Injuries: Symptoms, Diagnoses, and Treatment

Whether you’re finishing up a serve on the tennis court, reaching into a high cabinet at work, or recovering from a car accident, a sudden pain in your shoulder is never something you want to feel. If you begin experiencing shoulder pain after an accident, you might be dealing with a rotator cuff injury.

What is the Rotator Cuff?

The rotator cuff refers to a group of four muscles: supraspinatus, infraspinatus, subscapularis, and teres minor. These muscles come together in a “cuff” at the top of the shoulder. They stabilize the shoulder by keeping the joints firmly in the socket. The rotator cuff also helps with arm movements, like reaching and stretching.  Like many other parts of the human body, the rotator cuff is not something many people pay attention to. However, it’s a vital part of our everyday movements.

Symptoms of a Rotator Cuff Injury

The symptoms of a rotator cuff injury can be painful and persistent. The symptoms include:

  • A dull ache deep in the shoulder
  • Disturbed sleep and nighttime pain, particularly when sleeping on the affected side
  • Pain that accompanies arm movements, like reaching up
  • Arm weakness

If you have these symptoms after a car accident, work injury, or other incident, a doctor can look at the injury and diagnose the issue. To determine if the pain is caused by a rotator cuff injury, a doctor will press down on the area, move the arm into certain position, and check the muscles in the shoulders and arms. They might also use imaging testing, like x-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or an ultrasound to get a closer look at the injury.

Treating a Rotator Cuff Injury

Once a rotator cuff injury is diagnosed, there are a variety of treatment options, including:

  • Steroid shots or other injections
  • Physical therapy
  • Surgery, including open tendon repair, tendon transfers, or shoulder replacement

The rotator cuff might not be an area of the body that we commonly think about, but when it gets injured, it can have a huge impact on daily life, and can hinder a person’s ability to perform work and earn wages. This is why it’s critical to pay attention to any pain after a car accident, workplace accident, or other injury—if you suffer a rotator cuff injury, it could have bigger consequences than you think.


The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.


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