The rotator cuff tendons keep the humeral head in place while the arm  goes through its various ranges of motion. Rotator cuff syndrome refers to any pathology that affects the rotator cuff tendons’ ability to function.  The supraspinatus, one of four rotator cuff muscles, is most often affected.



The most common symptom is pain. You may experience it when you reach up to comb your hair, bend your arm back to put on a jacket or carry something heavy. Lying on the affected shoulder also can be painful. If you have a severe injury, such as a large tear, you may experience continuous pain and muscle weakness.


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Procedural options include cortisone injections to the subacromial bursa if the rotator cuff injury is bursal-sided, injections to the glenohumeral joint if the pathology is articular-sided. These injections help with pain but may actually weaken the tendon.  The relief may be temporary.  It can provide longer lasting relief if the condition is treated in conjunction with physical therapy.  The pain relief will allow for better participation in therapy. Regenerative-type injections (such as platelet-rich plasma [PRP]) can theoretically provide longer lasting pain relief and improved function by stimulating the body’s own natural healing response.