The symptoms of a rotator cuff tear are typically related to pain and weakness. Patients typically have difficulty sleeping at night because their shoulder will wake them up secondary to pain. A lot of times they’ll have difficulty sleeping on their shoulder. Typically, this is worse in patients that are side sleepers and they note that the thrash around at night to try to get comfortable. Other things that patients typically notice is that they become weak as they lift their arm over their head. Normal things like getting dishes out of the cupboard become difficult and you feel like the arm is going to give out on you. Patients will note some weakness even using their hand away from their body and in advanced cases will note that they can’t get their head even behind their head or up their back to scratch it. For men, this is manifested as difficulty getting their wallet out of their pocket. For women, it typically involves having difficulty getting a bra on as they get dressed in the morning.
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