Rotator Cuff Anatomy

The rotator cuff is a group of 4 muscles (supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor and subscapularis) around the shoulder. Each rotator cuff muscle originates on the shoulder blade with large tendinous portion attaching to the humerus. The function of the rotator cuff is to control rotation of the arm and to provide stability to the shoulder joint by keeping the ball (humerus) centered on the socket (glenoid).

photo of skeleton

Rotator Cuff Pathology

The rotator cuff tendons may be torn as a result of degeneration or as a result of trauma to the shoulder. A torn rotator cuff tendon may be a source of pain, functional limitation or both. Some patients report night pain. Some patients report weakness.

A rotator cuff tear is not in and of itself a problem. Studies have shown that a certain percentage of normal functioning shoulders have tears within the rotator cuff.  Many factors contribute as to why a rotator cuff tear becomes symptomatic.

Rotator Cuff Tear Treatment

Often a torn rotator cuff will respond very well to physical therapy. When a patient does not make improvement with physical therapy, then surgery will be indicated to repair the torn tendon. This surgery is performed arthroscopically and the rotator cuff tendon is anchored to the bone. Call Dr. Gibbs today for an appointment in Salt Lake City, Park City or Tooele, Utah to find out your options for your rotator cuff tear.

Rotator Cuff Tear Information FAQs


Intact Rotator Cuff

Torn Rotator Cuff

Repaired Rotator Cuff



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