The rotator cuff is a group of tendons that help the shoulder with the circular motions of which the joint is capable. Rotator cuff injuries are usually "repetitive use" problems; they are common in swimmers, tennis players and athletes who throw overhead frequently, such as baseball players.

Rotator cuff injuries usually cause pain in the front or outside areas of the shoulder. Pain often intensifies when the arms are raised overhead, and the pain often worsens at night.

Healing a rotator cuff injury typically entails what experts refer to as "active rest": moving your shoulder to perform routine tasks but avoiding strenuous activities such as heavy lifting or playing a sport like those mentioned above. In addition, doctors or physical therapists frequently prescribe a series of exercises designed to restore the shoulder's range of motion and its strength.

If pain or impaired function persists, be sure to consult a healthcare professional.