U.S. doctors online nowAsk doctors free
New York, NY
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.

90,000 U.S. doctors in 147 specialties are here to answer your questions or offer you advice, prescriptions, and more. Get help now:

Ask doctors free
Educational text
Talk to a doctor
24/7 visits - just $39!
50% off with $15/month membership
Last updated Oct 1, 2019


Content on HealthTap (including answers) should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and interactions on HealthTap do not create a doctor-patient relationship. Never disregard or delay professional medical advice in person because of anything on HealthTap. Call your doctor or 911 if you think you may have a medical emergency.