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If you have a dull ache in the middle of your shoulder that also interferes with sleep, it may be time to see an orthopedic surgeon about repairing a torn rotator cuff.

The rotator cuff is the group of muscles and tendons that wrap around the shoulder joint and stabilize it. They attach to the top of the arm (humerus) and hold the arm in its joint. People who perform overhead motions at work or in sports, like tennis or baseball, are most susceptible to rotator cuff tears.

“Some rotator cuff tears happen due to a single event, but most of the time, the rotator cuff becomes damaged because of overuse,” says Paul B. McLendon, M.D., shoulder surgery specialist with Riverside Orthopedic Specialists. “The tendons get stressed over time and can tear from repetitive use, and the tear can become larger as you move your shoulder.”

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