Shoulder muscle tear: What are the signs?

A shoulder muscle tear can make simple daily tasks a burden. Tears in both the tendons and muscles of the shoulder joint are considered as prevalent injuries that produce similar symptoms.

It is important to note that the tears vary from minor to large in which the larger tears are likely to trigger pain or discomfort. The mild tears often recuperate without any lingering symptoms. The larger tears can cause persistent or severe symptoms that necessitate physical therapy or surgery.

Common indications of a shoulder muscle tear

Shoulder pain


Shoulder pain is a usual indication of a shoulder muscle tear.

Shoulder pain is a usual indication of a shoulder muscle tear. The discomfort typically radiates into the upper arm as well. The pain often causes difficulty while sleeping especially with the side-lying position.

Occupational and sports activities which necessitate repeated overhead movements can result to tears involving several shoulder muscles or tendons. This leads to generalized soreness all over the shoulder region.

Redness, bruising and swelling

The rotator cuff which includes several muscles and tendons is the usual site for a shoulder muscle tear. It is important to note that a tear can occur from trauma, overuse or degenerative changes linked with aging.

A traumatic shoulder muscle tear can cause bruising and evident signs of inflammation including swelling and redness of the shoulder and upper arm. The tears due to age-related changes and overuse do not often show any obvious signs of inflammation but the tissues within the joint is inflamed.

Muscular weakness, reduced movement and popping

A shoulder muscle tear is often linked with weakness in the shoulder and arm. Lifting objects and reaching overhead can be hard. In most cases, the supraspinatus which is one of the rotator cuff muscles is frequently damaged.

A torn supraspinatus results to weakening particularly when raising the arm to the side. A ripped biceps muscles produces weakness when carrying and lifting objects in front of the body. A shoulder muscle tear can also cause popping or clicking when the arm is moved.

More Information / Disclaimer

The information posted on this page on a shoulder muscle tear is for learning purposes only. Learn to recognize and manage the injury by taking a standard first aid course with Vancouver First Aid.


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