Rotator Cuff Tendonitis

By Brian M. Torpey, MD, FACS


Rotator cuff tendonitis is a very common cause of shoulder pain in athletes. The rotator cuff is made up of four tendons that help hold the shoulder joint together. These tendons also help coordinate and control the complex motions that are required for the shoulder joint to perform it's normal functions.

Rotator cuff tendonitis is typically caused by repetitive over- head motions such as ball throwing, swimming and racket sports. The stresses from these repetitive motions cause the rotator cuff tendons to become over-worked and inflamed.

Common complaints associated with rotator cuff tendonitis include shoulder pain at night,pain with placing your arm into a coat sleeve or jacket, pain lifting objects from high shelving, and even pain washing your hair.

Fortunately rotator cuff tendonitis typically responds nicely to a combination of physical therapy exercises, an icing program, and a short course of anti- inflammatory medicines.