Rotator cuff tears are a common contributing factor of shoulder pain and occupational disability. Tears of the rotator cuff are becoming increasingly prevalent in today's musculoskeletal population. Accurate recognition and successful treatment of patients with rotator cuff tears require thorough comprehension of the normal and pathologic anatomy of the rotator cuff. This article will provide an overview of the rotator cuff that consists of normal anatomy, pathology, physical assessment, diagnostic imaging, and recommended treatment. This article also discusses the importance of providing adequate and straightforward patient education and the role it plays in positive outcomes of rotator cuff tear rehabilitation.
Mary Atkinson Smith, FNP, Board Certified Nurse Practitioner, Starkville Orthopedic Clinic, Starkville, MS; and DNP student, the University of Alabama Capstone College of Nursing in Tuscaloosa, Tuscaloosa, AL.
W. Todd Smith, MD, FAAOS, Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon, Starkville Orthopedic Clinic, Starkville, MS.
The authors have disclosed that they have no financial interests to any commercial company related to this educational activity.
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