The rotator cuff describes a group of tendons and muscles in the shoulder. These tendons help connect the upper arm bone (humerus) to the shoulder blade (scapula). The rotator cuff tendons provide stability to the ball and socket joint and allow the shoulder to move in many different ways and combinations. Allowing for fine control skills, like painting, and more extreme high-velocity movements, such as throwing.
While your shoulder is one of your most mobile joints in the body, it’s is also quite prone to injury due to this very reason. Too much stress through the shoulder and arm can damage the rotator cuff tendons, causing partial tears and/or swelling in the tendon. The supraspinatus tendon is the most commonly injured tendon.
The symptoms of a rotator cuff injury are often associated with lifting your arm or an object away from your body forwards or out to the side, this may cause pain in the shoulder itself or down the arm. The shoulder can feel weak on everyday tasks and is often painful at night times. The pain can come on suddenly while performing a heavy task or falling over. But equally, these injuries can be gradual and degenerative in nature.
As Chartered Physiotherapists, we will be able to formulate a diagnosis using your history and certain tests to diagnose a rotator cuff injury or tear. We can then help you to formulate a rehabilitation programme or request further investigations if required. Research shows that ‘conservative treatment should be considered as the primary method of treatment for this condition.’ Bone and Joint 2014
‘Findings from published high-quality research investigations suggest that a graduated and well-constructed exercise approach confers at least equivalent benefit as that derived from surgery for; subacromial pain (impingement) syndrome, rotator cuff tendinopathy, partial thickness rotator cuff (RC) tears and atraumatic full-thickness rotator cuff tears,’ according to Manual Therapy Journal 2016
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