Shoulder Anatomy 101 By Christopher Bates on April 07, 2021

Anatomy 101: The Rotator Cuff


The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint. These muscles and tendons provide stability in the shoulder, attaching around the head of the humerus bone, encircling it like a cuff. These four muscles include:

  • Infraspinatous: This muscle is positioned more behind the shoulder joint. It helps to externally rotate the arm, for example, when you are throwing a ball.
  • Supraspinatous: This muscle forms the upper border of the rotator cuff. It helps you bring your arm away from your body.
  • Subscapularis: This is the only rotator cuff muscle that is actually in front of the shoulder. It helps rotate the arm toward the body, such as when you touch your stomach.
  • Teres Minor: This muscle primarily helps externally rotate the shoulder, but it also helps pull the arm into the body.

The rotator cuff can suffer from injuries, especially as we get older and it begins to deteriorate. In fact, most rotator cuff problems stem from aging. Other injuries can occur due to an accident. Some signs that your rotator cuff may be injured include:

  • Pain
  • Weakness
  • Restricted motion
  • Catching
  • Locking
  • Feeling of instability

If you’re feeling any of these symptoms around the shoulder, visit a hand surgeon. Hand surgeons can treat the shoulder as well as the hand, wrist, arm and elbow. The surgeon will evaluate you and possibly take an x-ray to learn more about your injury.

Many times, rotator cuff pain/injuries can be treated by altering your activity, physical therapy or pain relievers. But, talk to your surgeon about the best treatment option for you. 

Hand to Shoulder team in the surgical suite

The Hand to Shoulder Center

At The Hand to Shoulder Center in Fort Worth, TX, our team of fellowship-trained hand, elbow, and shoulder surgeons treat any and all conditions from the shoulder to the fingertip. Our surgeons perform both elective and reconstructive procedures, including:

  • Joint Replacement
  • Traumatic Injury Surgery
  • Arthroscopic Surgery
  • Microsurgery
  • Minimally Invasive Surgery
  • Wide Awake Local Anesthesia Only Surgery

Our physicians are associated with the American Society for Surgery of the Hand and the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please contact us online or call (817) 420-9238.

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