There are three stages of rotator cuff tears:
- A stage 1 tear is a partial tear less than 1 cm in size. It is accompanied by some pain following overhead arm movements, but range of motion is not limited.
- A stage 2 tear is a partial tear greater than 1 cm but less than 5 cm in length. Pain is common during and after overhead arm movements, as well as at night. It may be accompanied by a slight decrease in range of motion.
- A stage 3 tear is a full tear greater than 5 cm in size. Stiffness, weakness, and pain occur during and after overhead arm movements and during sleep. There may be a slight to severe decrease in range of motion in the shoulder.