According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, in 2008 nearly two million people in the United States went to their doctors for rotator cuff difficulties. This includes rotator cuff tears, which make it difficult or even impossible to raise your arm over your shoulder.
“There are two types of rotator cuff tears—a partial tear and a full-thickness tear,” says orthopedic surgeon Patrick McGahan, M.D., with Sutter Orthopedic Institute. “The partial tear damages the soft tissue of the rotator cuff tendons, but doesn’t completely sever the tendon. A full-thickness tear, also called a complete tear, splits the rotator cuff tendon soft tissue completely into two.”