The rotator cuff is perhaps the most frequently injured tendon in the entire body. It is actually a collection of four tendons that help rotate and elevate the shoulder joint. Because the rotator cuff lies directly beneath the bone of the shoulder blade, it can rub against the bone and become inflamed – a condition known as impingement. Impingement can be made worse in the presence of bone spurs on the shoulder blade. The inflammation and mechanical stress can sometimes progress to gradual breakdown and tearing of the rotator cuff. While these chronic tears can often be successfully treated with injections, medications, or physical therapy, they do sometimes require surgery. The rotator cuff can also suffer an acute tear, in which the tendon is ripped off of the bone due to an injury. Acute Tears usually require surgical repair.
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