Before your rotator cuff problem can be treated, your orthopedist needs to evaluate the extent of your injury. This means taking a closer look at your health history and daily activities, examining your shoulder and using tests to pinpoint the cause and type of your injury. Then you and your orthopedist can talk about the treatment plan that’s best for you.

Your health history

To understand the cope of your injury, you doctor may ask you a variety of questions.

  • Where do you feel pain?
  • When do you feel it?
  • How is it affecting your activities?
  • What kind of job or sports are you doing?

You may also be asked about any other physical problems you’ve had, as well as any family medical problems that might affect your treatment.

Your shoulder exam

To identify the problem area, your doctor will feel your shoulder thoroughly to determine the location and cause of your pain. Your doctor may also check for signs of weakness and listen for unusual popping or grinding sounds in your shoulder. Movement and resistance tests help determine your shoulder’s flexibility, strength and stability.

With the “empty can test”, your arm is positioned as thought you’re pouring soda out of a can. If you feel pain as you push up against your doctor’s hand, your rotator cuff may be irritated.

Back to Shoulder Injury page