Rotator Cuff Tendonitis and Tears

FAQs on Treatment Rotator Cuff Tendonitis/Tears in Oklahoma


Rotator cuff tendonitis and injury affects the shoulder joint and structure. Rotator cuff tendonitis is an inflammation of group of muscles in the shoulder together with irritation of the lubrication mechanism of the shoulder bursa.


What is the rotator cuff?


A rotator cuff is a group of four tendons that covers the humeral head, controls arm rotation, and helps with arm elevation. The rotator cuff is a network of tendons and muscles that work together with the deltoid muscle of the arm to provide strength and motion to the shoulder.


What causes rotator cuff tendinitis and tears?


Rotator cuff tendinitis and tears are caused by repetitive overhead activities, such as raking, throwing, washing cars, or any other highly repetitive motions. Rotator cuff tearing, tendinitis, and injuries can cause shoulder pain and limitation of activities. The rotator cuff is sandwiched between two of the shoulder bones. Wit repeated activity, a muscle or tendon can become frayed, which causes inflammation and pain.


What are the symptoms of rotator cuff tearing or tendinitis?


The classic symptom of a tear or tendinitis is a dull, aching pain that radiates from the outer arm to the top of the shoulder. Pain also occurs at the front aspect of the shoulder, interferes with sleep, and is reported as a nagging pain. In addition, the symptoms are aggravated by raising the arms overhead, reaching behind the body, and stretching to retrieve objects.


What are the treatment options for a rotator cuff tear or tendinitis?


The doctor will first order some diagnostic tests, such as x-rays and a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan. This test reveals if muscles or tendons are torn, injured or inflamed. After getting the results, treatment is based on the rotator cuff injury. Options include:


  • Rest and ice – This involves avoiding excessive stress on the shoulder and using an ice pack to reduce swelling.


  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) – These include naproxen, ketoprofen, and ibuprofen.


  • Physical therapy – The doctor may prescribe a short-course of physical therapy to improve shoulder strength and flexibility.


  • Stem cell injections – Physicians are injected torn muscles and ligaments with stem cells. These cells have the capacity to regenerate and transform into specialized tissues. During surgeries on the shoulder, stem cells are transplanted at the site of injury to repair and heal the torn or injured structure.


Do stem cells work?


Regarding repair of torn rotator cuff structures, researchers at the University of Connecticut Health Center conducted a study involving rat subjects They implanted a thin 5 mm x 7 mm scaffold of stem cells and fibers along the damaged tendon of the animal.


Once the seeded scaffold healed, researchers observed new tissue that microscopically resembled the tendon tissue. The National Institutes of Health report that stem cell therapy is a safe and effective option for treating rotator cuff injuries, and many clinical studies are being done in this area of medicine.



National Institutes of Health (2017). Repairing torn rotator cuffs. Retrieved from: