Rotator Cuff Tendonitis


Rotator Cuff Tendonitis is when the tendons can be irritated or damaged. If you have rotator cuff tendonitis you likely have pain, swelling, and tenderness located in the front of your shoulder. When you lift or lower your arm you might also experience pain and stiffness. Initially, you may experience mild symptoms, however as it progresses you may experience difficulty in daily activities like buttoning or putting your arm behind your back due to loss of strength or motion, and your pain may intensify.

Your shoulder is a very complex joint with many tendons and muscles. The complexity of the shoulder also makes it vulnerable to many problems. Your shoulder consists of three large bones: your upper arm bone (humerus) which meets your shoulder blade (scapula) and your collarbone (clavicle). The head of your arm bone lives in your shoulder socket. Muscles and tendons cover this location to protect the joint and connect it to your shoulder blade. Between the rotator cuff and the bone on top of your shoulder, there is a sac called a bursa which lubricates the joint. This lubrication allows the rotator cuff tendons to move pain-free when you move your arm.

Swimming, baseball, and tennis are all sports that see an influx of athletes with rotator cuff injuries due to the frequent motion of pulling their arm overhead. Middle-aged people are also at an increased risk especially those who work in construction or painting.

Nonsurgical Treatment Options for Rotator Cuff Tendonitis

Some initial nonsurgical treatments that might be suggested are:

  • Rest.​Rest your arm for several weeks which means stopping or decrease heavy participation in sports or activities that cause your painful symptoms.
  • Anti-inflammatory Medication.​ Start taking an anti-inflammatory like aspirin or ibuprofen in order to reduce the pain and inflammation.
  • Physical Therapy. Your physical therapist may suggest several exercises designed with restoring normal motion for your shoulder.
  • Steroid Injection.A steroid is a powerful anti-inflammatory that can be injected into the painful area to relieve your symptoms.