A rotator cuff is a group of tendons and muscles that support the shoulder joint and allow for complete movement while keeping the ball of the arm bone in the shoulder socket. These tendons and muscles may become torn or otherwise damaged from injury or overuse and can lead to pain, weakness, and inflammation. Surgery is often needed to treat this serious condition.
Whereas, a labrum is a protective cuff of cartilage found in the shoulder that provides stability, cushioning and a full range of motion. A tear in the labrum is caused by injury or overuse and can lead to pain and “catching” of the joint while moving. While many labral tears can be treated by managing pain symptoms and undergoing physical therapy, some cases require surgical treatment.
Signs and Symptoms
Signs and symptoms of a rotator cuff injury include:
- Pain and swelling in front of the shoulder.
- Pain triggered by raising or lowering the arm.
- A clicking sound when raising the arm.
- Pain that causes you to wake from sleep.
- Pain when reaching behind your back.
- A loss of mobility and strength.
Signs and symptoms of a labral tear include:
- Shoulder instability.
- Shoulder dislocation.
- Catching, locking, popping or grinding.
- Occasional night pain.
- Decreased range of motion.
- Loss of strength.
Treatment options for a rotator cuff and labral injuries include:
- Avoiding activities that cause pain.
- Ice packs.
- Nonsteroidal medication.
- Physical therapy.
- Steroid injection.
- Arthroscopic surgery.