How Can You Tell If You Tore Your Rotator Cuff?

The tendon no longer completely binds to the head of the humerus when one or more of the rotator cuff tendons is broken.

The supraspinatus tendon is the most often torn, but other parts of the rotator cuff can also be involved.

Fraying is a common cause of broken tendons. The tendon will fully break as the damage progresses, which can happen while raising a large object.

Different types of tears:

  • Partial tear. An incomplete tear is another name for this kind of tear. The tendon is damaged but not totally severed.
  • Full-thickness tear. A full tear is another name for this form of tear. It removes the tendon from the bone completely. There is essentially a hole in the tendon with a full-thickness tear.


A rotator cuff injury can cause a lot of pain:

A dull ache deep in the shoulder has been identified

  • Sleep deprivation
  • Make combing your hair or reaching behind your back difficult.
  • Be followed by a feeling of weakness in the arms

When to see a doctor

Short-term shoulder pain should be evaluated by your family doctor. If you have immediate weakness in your arm after an accident, see your doctor right away.


Rotator cuff disease may be caused by a serious injury to the shoulder or by the degeneration or wear and tear of the tendon tissue over time. Overuse of the tendon, such as repetitive overhead operation or heavy lifting, can irritate or harm it.

Risk factors

A rotator cuff injury is more likely if you have the following causes:

  • Age. A rotator cuff injury becomes more likely as you grow older. The majority of rotator cuff tears occur in people over the age of 60.
  • Construction jobs. Repetitive arm movements, often overhead, are required in jobs like carpentry and house painting, which can weaken the rotator cuff over time.
  • Family history. Rotator cuff injuries tend to be more common in some families, so there may be a hereditary factor involved.


A doctor will inquire about a patient’s symptoms, the nature of the injury, and whether or not it makes the pain better or worse.

They’ll also do a physical test to assess a person’s range of motion and listen for any cracking or popping sounds as they lift their shoulders.

A doctor may also plan for imaging scans of the arm and shoulder, such as MRIs:

  • X-ray: This form of imaging looks for signs of calcifications, arthritis, or other fractures in the bones.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): A magnetic field is used to create representations of soft tissue in this form of imaging. A physician may detect areas of inflammation and possible tearing.

Other tests can be performed depending on the severity of the injury to determine whether the rotator cuff is broken or whether the symptoms are caused by something else.


If you’re at risk for rotator cuff injuries or have already had one, regular shoulder strengthening exercises will help you avoid more injury.

Most people work out their front chest, shoulder, and upper arm muscles, but strengthening the muscles in the back of the shoulder and around the shoulder blade is just as important for shoulder muscle balance. A physical therapist or a doctor will assist you in developing an exercise schedule.

Are You Looking for Shoulder Pain Relief? 

Pace Physical Therapy in San Jose, California specializes in non-surgical shoulder pain relief and recovery therapies.  We pride ourselves on offering the best possible physical therapy available and going above and beyond for our patients. Physical therapy, without the need for harmful drugs or unnecessary surgery, is a safe, simple and convenient way to find relief from shoulder pain. A variety of problems resulting in shoulder pain have been treated by our physical therapists, with patients experiencing progress and relief after just a few short sessions, and even fewer! We will develop a specialized mix of physical therapy approaches to treat and alleviate your pain once we have identified the source of your shoulder pain. Gentle manual therapy helps to restore natural joint mobility, relieve constraints on soft tissue, and facilitate circulation while restoring strength and the proper sequence of muscle activation around the shoulder joint through precise therapeutic exercises. Finally, we teach you strategies to strengthen your power and to stop the recurrence of future shoulder problems. Don’t let your pain in your shoulder hinder your physical skills any longer! Our physical therapy practice in San Jose, CA, will give you the support you need to once again start living your regular life. To schedule your appointment and get started on your journey towards pain relief, contact Pace Physical Therapy today. Contact us today to schedule your appointment!