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A 54-year-old female asked:

How do i tell whether a shoulder injury is bursitis or rotator cuff tear? pain when lift arm up or sideways or bear weight. treatment method same?

2 doctor answers4 doctors weighed in
Dr. David Trettin
Orthopedic Surgery 33 years experience
Get examined: "bursitis" of the shoulder and a rotator cuff tear can present w/ very similar symptoms(pain w/ motion of shoulder away from body , night pain, etc).However subacromial bursitis will generally improve w/ time, rot.Cuff tears usually not. A simple physical exam by an ors in most cases will be give u your answer.Occ. A diagnostic injection will be needed as well.A high quality MRI is definitive. Gl!
Dr. Ronald Krauser
A Verified Doctoranswered
Rheumatology 52 years experience
You usually can't: A simple exam of the shoulder should be able to give you the answer. If conservative therapies fail, an MRI would be helpful.

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Last updated Oct 1, 2019

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