What Are Some Symptoms of a Shoulder Tear?

Some symptoms of a shoulder tear are having pain that worsens with overhead activities, lower range of motion and instability in the shoulder, says OrthoInfo. Some other symptoms include not having as much shoulder strength, having pain at night or with basic activities, and having popping, grinding or locking of the shoulder.

Some people are at a higher risk for shoulder tears, notes OrthoInfo. Traumatic injury is a common risk factor and can occur after a blow to the shoulder, falling when the arm is stretched out, having it pulled suddenly or having to reach overhead quickly. Weightlifters and athletes with throwing activities are most at risk for shoulder tears.

After asking about the different symptoms, a doctor does a physical examination to look for a shoulder tear, according to OrthoInfo. This involves moving the shoulder around in different ways to check for the range of motion and stability. This also helps the doctor determine how painful the tear is. Often X-rays are done to look for the type and severity of damage. CT and MRI scans also are sometimes required to look at the shoulder socket tissue.

Treatment for shoulder tears usually involves taking an anti-inflammatory medication for pain and to reduce inflammation, says OrthoInfo. Exercises are recommended to help with rehabilitation. Arthroscopic surgery is required in some cases.