Rotator cuff injury

Male having shoulder pain from rotator cuff injury
Getty Images under licence to PhysioQinetics Ltd.


What is rotator cuff injury?

The "rotator cuff" is a group of 4 small muscles that run from the shoulder blade to the top of the arm bone. They act together to support and move the shoulder joint. A rotator cuff injury occurs when there is damage to these muscles or associated tendons. It weakens your shoulder, cause severe shoulder pain, and can limit your range of movement. 

A rotator cuff muscle may be injured when it is forcibly contracted or overstretched. This can lead to a tear of the rotator cuff muscle and it is usually felt as sudden sharp pain or 'twinge' in the shoulder at the time of injury. Rotator cuff injuries can arise from either an acute injury such as weight lifting, or injury from progressive degeneration / wear and tear of the tendon tissue over time.

Repetitive overhead activity (e.g. weight training) over a prolonged period of time may irritate or damage the tendons. Pain is often described as a dull, aching pain that worsens at night and with certain shoulder movement, like reaching out or behind the back.


Physiotherapist applying muscle energy technique on female patient's elbow
Getty Images under licence to PhysioQinetics Ltd.


Treatment for a rotator cuff injury

Without treatment, rotator cuff problems may lead to permanent loss of motion or weakness, and may result in progressive degeneration of the shoulder joint. Physiotherapy is important in the treatment of rotator cuff injuries. Our physiotherapists can help diagnose the condition, discuss the different treatment options and provide effective physiotherapy treatment for rotator cuff injuries. 

This includes using various manual treatment techniques to control shoulder pain, regain motion, improve shoulder and blade positioning, and to improve posture. There will be a strong focus on rehabilitation of your rotator cuff muscles and shoulder blade muscles. Our physiotherapy treatment for rotator cuff injuries may include:-

In some cases, rotator cuff injuries may require surgical treatment to restore shoulder function.



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