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Definition of Rotator Cuff

What is the Rotator Cuff of the Shoulder?


Updated April 29, 2014

rotator cuff

The rotator cuff is the group of muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder.

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Definition: The rotator cuff is the name for the tendons that surround the shoulder joint. The rotator cuff is actually a group of four muscles and their tendons that wraps around the front, back, and top of the shoulder joint.

The rotator cuff is often misidentified as the:

  • Rotary Cuff
  • Rotary Cup
  • Rotor Cup
  • Rotator Cup

The proper name is: rotator cuff. The rotator cuff is the name given to these tendons that often become injured and inflamed causing shoulder pain.

What is a rotator cuff tear?

Unfortunately, a rotator cuff injury is not an uncommon problem, and these injuries make many routine activities difficult and painful. The rotator cuff is part of this mechanism that, when healthy functions very well, but when injured can be a difficult and frustrating problem.

The most common rotator cuff problems are:

  • Rotator Cuff Tendonitis
    Rotator cuff tendonitis, or shoulder bursitis, is the most common shoulder diagnosis. Many patients who have pain are told by their doctor they have shoulder bursitis or tendonitis.
  • Rotator Cuff Tears
    A rotator cuff tear occurs when there is an injury to one or more of the tendons of the rotator cuff. In these cases, patients may have pain and weakness of the shoulder joint. Surgery is sometimes needed in the treatment of this condition.

Common Misspellings: Rotary Cuff, Rotary Cup, Rotor Cup, Rotator Cup

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