Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

During the physical exam, your doctor will press on different parts of your shoulder and move your arm into different positions. He or she will also test the strength of the muscles around the shoulder and in the arms.

In some cases, he or she may recommend imaging tests, such as:

  • X-rays. Although a rotator cuff tear won't show up on an X-ray, this test can visualize bone spurs or other potential causes for your pain — such as a broken bone.
  • Ultrasound. This type of test uses sound waves to produce images of structures within your body, particularly soft tissues such as muscles and tendons.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This technology uses radio waves and a strong magnet, and is excellent at revealing problems in both bones and soft tissues.
Feb. 19, 2014

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