What are the warning signs of a rotator cuff tear?

The rotator cuff can tear completely or partially with an injury or years of use. The rotator cuff can be injured with lifting, falling on the arm or when something pulls on the arm. 

Typically tears occur in those over age 40, but occasionally tears are seen in younger individuals. Typical signs of a rotator cuff tear include pain with overhead use of the arm, weakness or pain preventing or disrupting sleep. 

In terms of strength, patients are generally still able to lift when the arm and hand are closer to the body. However, most tears make it difficult to lift away from the body, such as lifting a gallon of milk from the refrigerator. If you have any of these symptoms, you should schedule an appointment with an orthopedic shoulder specialist.