Drug Side Effects | Rotator Cuff Tear

Rotator Cuff Tear

A rotator cuff tear is a condition wherein one or more of the four tendons of the rotator cuff muscle in the shoulder is damaged or torn. The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles responsible for stabilizing the shoulder and keeping the arm in the shoulder socket. Rotator cuff tears are a common cause of pain among adults that weakens the shoulder, making the performance of even the simplest of tasks, such as getting dressed or raising your arms, difficult. A tear in the rotator cuff can be debilitating and can hamper people’s performance of their duties at home and in the workplace.

Symptoms of a Rotator Cuff Tear

Those suffering from a torn rotator cuff can feel severe pain emanating from the upper shoulder area that decreases its range of motion. Consequently, decreased range of motion in the shoulders means a decrease in overall physical activity since the arms are one of the most used parts of the body. Pain from a rotator cuff tear can be chronic and usually worsens at night, interfering with sleep. As pain worsens, range of motion gradually decreases. Aside from pain and decreased range of motion, other symptoms include:

  • Shoulder weakness
  • Stiffness of the shoulder joint
  • Sleep deprivation or problems with sleep patterns due to pain
  • Crepitus or a crackling sound when moving the shoulder
  • Extreme pain when moving the shoulder


Many individuals do not feel any symptoms of a rotator cuff tear until it gets worse; sometimes people can walk around with a damaged or partially torn rotator cuff, if the pain is relatively weak or manageable. Treatment of a rotator cuff tear will vary depending on each individual. The first line of treatment commonly recommended by doctors are nonsurgical options, including shoulder exercises, physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medication, steroid injections, and lifestyle or activity modifications. If an individual is willing to limit physical activity and tolerate shoulder weakness, nonsurgical treatment may suffice. Without surgery, however, the tear may worsen over time. Discussing treatment options with a physician is advisable so the best treatment approach can be determined.

Drug Side Effects

A Levaquin rotator cuff tear may seem to occur spontaneously to users of the drug, without experiencing a fall or traumatic injury. Of the Levaquin side effects, this can be the most painful. Levaquin is a potent drug that belongs to a class of antibiotics referred to as fluoroquinolones. In 2008, the FDA ordered manufacturers of fluoroquinolones to add a black box warning on their products’ packaging and develop literature explaining the risks of Levaquin rotator cuff tear and tendon damage to potential users of the drug.