The rotator cuff is the group of tendons and muscles that keep the ball of your upper arm bone inside the socket of your shoulder. Whether partially or completely torn, an injury to these tendons and muscles can limit movement and cause significant pain. Rotator cuff tears are a common issue, but who is at higher risk and why? Let’s take a look.


Because many rotator cuff tears occur over time, age is a significant factor when determining risk. Most of those who develop a tear not caused by an acute injury are over 40.

Poor Posture

Many think of back problems when it comes to poor posture, but it can also significantly affect your shoulders. When your shoulder blades, collar bones and even arms are not functioning in the proper position, it can lead to incorrect wear over time.

Overuse & Repetition

Athletes or those in certain occupations are at higher risk for developing a rotator cuff tear. Frequently overusing the shoulder causes strain. Repetitive motions can lead to inflammation in the tendons supporting the joint. It’s this inflammation that worsens over time, leading to a tear.


Cigarette smoking is often a risk factor for many conditions, including heart attack, stroke and others. The risk increases over time the longer you smoke. Your provider may have resources to help you quit.

Family History

Research has shown that genetic predisposition can make you more susceptible to an acute injury as well as a tear caused by long-term overuse. The exact shared cause isn’t completely understood, but you should let your provider know about the family history.

Other Health Conditions

Health conditions that can contribute to a torn rotator cuff include bone spurs in the shoulder area, poor circulation and even a previous injury. Any health conditions that may play a factor in your current injury should be discussed with your provider to create an appropriate treatment plan.

If you are experiencing pain and limited movement in one or both shoulders, contact Dr. Steven Struhl today to schedule an appointment. No matter the cause, properly repairing the tear may help you return to your normal activities.