Rotator Cuff Injury

Rotator Cuff Injury

What is the Rotator Cuff?

The rotator cuff are four muscles and tendons which attach to the shoulder blade (scapula) and the very top of the upper arm bone (the head of the humerus). They surround the shoulder joint and play a vital role in providing stability, flexibility and muscle control for all movements of the shoulder.

Mechanism of injury

Common injuries to the rotator cuff include tears or tendinopathies.

Tears and tendinopathies may be caused by repetitive overloading which results in microtrauma of the tendon.

Risk factors for a tendinopathy include repetitive lifting, inadequate rest, working in awkward postures and repetitive use of the arms overhead.

Tears may also be caused by a sudden trauma; which could include falling on an outstretched hand, dislocation or a sudden unexpected force when carrying, pushing or pulling.

Other conditions such as an impingement, frozen shoulder or instability may make a rotator cuff injury more likely.

Symptoms may include

  • Pain at night
  • Painful when moving the arm to the middle range of elevation
  • Pain with overhead activities
  • Rotator cuff weakness

Further information

Incidence of injuries to the rotator cuff increase with age and it is common to have pathology to the rotator cuff tendons without symptoms. It has been reported that 54% of people over the age of 60 have a tear in the rotator cuff without any pain.

Medical Management

Depending on the nature and history of the symptoms, medical management may include pain relief or a referral for an assessment with an orthopaedic surgeon.

Rehabilitation

Rehabilitation with a physiotherapist includes manual therapy and exercises to restore range of motion. A physiotherapist will guide you through specific graded strengthening exercises to facilitate healing of the rotator cuff and restore function.

Treatments used by Physiotherapists at ALO

  • Specific Rehabilitative Exercises
  • Manual Therapy
  • Taping
  • Electrotherapy
  • Clinical Massage Therapy
  • Acupuncture

Book an assessment

Email: alo@alo-physiotherapy.co.uk

Tel: 0207 636 8845

Resources

YouTube video: Rotator Cuff Anatomy

Web link: Rotator cuff tears without pain