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So when people say that they have a rotator cuff tear, what that means is that the muscle and the tendon that normally attached to a bone like your shoulder bone are torn away. When that happens, when the muscle contracts, it can’t adequately move the arm any longer, and so there’s some impairment of function in the shoulder. These tears typically do not heal themselves because the muscle, in order to function effectively, is under some tension at baseline, and that’s the same for every muscle in our body. Unfortunately, when these muscles are under tension and they tear, they don’t just tear away from the bone. They tear and retract almost like a rubber band when it snaps. This then puts the tendon away from the bone so that when the muscle contracts, it can’t move the shoulder bone normally.

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