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More from Dr. Levin
Just how common are rotator cuff injuries?
I see patients daily for rotator cuff injuries. They are very common, especially in middle-aged patients and older. Contrary to common belief, they are more commonly chronic in nature and a result of attritional use (wearing down over time) versus acute injury. For example, it is usually seen in laborers or patients who do repetitive overhead activities for their jobs such as construction workers, carpenters and of course strenuous sports like football or rugby. The athletes I see with rotator cuff pathology, however; usually become symptomatic later in life due to the repetitive trauma they have incurred from their sports career. Occasionally, I do see acute tears in overhead throwing athletes like pitchers, but the chronic attritional tears are much more common.