Our Health Library information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Please be advised that this information is made available to assist our patients to learn more about their health. Our providers may not see and/or treat all topics found herein.

Rotator cuff disorders

Rotator cuff disorders are irritations in or damage to tendons around your shoulder. This can include a tendon being squeezed or rubbed against bone (impingement), calcium buildup in the tendons, or a partial or complete tear of the tendons. In some cases, there may be inflammation of the bursa (bursitis) or tendon (tendinitis). You may hear some rotator cuff injuries described as tendinitis, tendinosis, or tendinopathy.

These problems can cause pain and make it hard to move your shoulder. They can happen as you get older and your rotator cuff gradually breaks down.

Sports and activities where you use your arms above your head a lot—such as tennis, swimming, or house painting—are common causes of rotator cuff injury.

See Our COVID-19 Update