Definition and nomenclature
The rotator cuff is a group of strong, rope-like fibers (tendons) and muscles in the shoulder. Rotator cuff disorders occur when tissues in the shoulder get irritated or damaged.
Rotator cuff disorders include:
- Inflammation of the tendons (tendinitis) or of a bursa (bursitis). In the shoulder, a bursa is a small, fluid-filled sac that serves as a cushion between the tendons and the bones.
- Impingement (Figure 1), in which a tendon is squeezed and rubs against bone.
- Calcium buildup in the tendons, which causes a painful condition called calcific tendinitis.
- Partial or complete tears of the rotator cuff tendons.
| Figure 1|