The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles and their respective tendons (subscapularis, supraspinatus, infraspinatus and teres minor), that contributes to the movement of the shoulder and keeps together the articulation between shoulder blade and humerus. Tendons envelop the humeral head just like a cuff, letting the arm move.
The rotator cuff may break every time the arm is forced to perform certain movements. This is a frequent injury among throwing sportspeople like tennis or volley players and for some workers in manual labor.
Professor Alessandro Castagna, Supervisor of shoulder and elbow orthopedy at Humanitas, spoke about this in an interview for Tg2’s Medicina 33.

Tendon rupture

“These tendons are likely to consume and rupture, both for traumatic reasons and due to simple wear. Tendons may tear partially and then, in most cases, totally. Thus, the lesion of a single tendon may evolve into a two-tendon or complex lesion”, the specialist explains.

When is surgery needed?

Surgery is useful for younger patients. For instance, “fifty year olds with a little, symptomatic lesion, that will most likely evolve into an intractable lesion. Ιnstead, older patents who have reduced their physical activity, should opt for physical therapy and treatment”, Prof. Castagna says.