Quiz – Don’t Shoulder The Pain

Baseball gloves and tennis rackets get dusted off sooner in the South, with warm breezes in March welcoming players of all ages out of hibernation. More time to play can also mean a higher risk of rotator cuff tendinitis, which is also known variably as tennis, pitcher's, or swimmer's shoulder. Don't let this condition cancel your game--take this quiz to learn more. (Answers are below.)

1. The shoulder joint is a ball and socket type joint where the top part of the arm bone (humerus) forms a joint with the shoulder blade (scapula). The rotator cuff holds the head of the humerus into the scapula.
A. True
B. False

2. One risk factor for rotator cuff tendinitis is:
A. Having long arms but small shoulders.
B. Overworking back and chest muscles.
C. Participation in exercise that involves repetitive arm motion over the head.
D. Being under 20 years of age.
E. All of the above are risk factors.

3. All of the below are symptoms of rotator cuff tendinitis EXCEPT:
A. Pain associated with arm movement
B. Numbness in the arm below the affected shoulder.
C. Pain in the shoulder at night, especially when lying on the affected shoulder
D. Weakness with raising the arm above the head
E. Pain with over-the-head activities such as brushing hair or reaching for objects on shelves.

4. Even with chronic inflammation or injury, the tendons of the rotator cuff won't tear.
A. True
B. False

5. Treatment for rotator cuff tendinitis involves which of the following?
A. Ice packs applied to the shoulder.
B. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
C. Resting the shoulder and avoiding activities that cause pain.
D. Physical therapy.
E. All of the above.


1. A. True. When the rotator cuff's tendons are inflamed (irritated and swollen), this is called tendinitis.

2. C. Participation in exercise that involves repetitive arm motion over the head, such as baseball. Being over age 40 is another risk factor.

3. B. Numbness in the arm below the affected shoulder.

4. B. False. Chronic inflammation can cause a tear, the outcome of which is strongly dependent upon its size and duration, as well as the patient's age and pre-injury level of function.

5. E. All of the above. If symptoms persist despite conservative therapy or the rotator cuff has had a complete tear, surgery may be necessary.
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