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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 34 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!
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Dr. Ronald Krauser
A Verified Doctoranswered
Rheumatology 53 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.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
Last updated Oct 1, 2019

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