The Rotator Cuff

The rotator cuff is made up of the muscles and tendons of the shoulder which connect the upper arm (humerus) with the shoulder blade (scapula). They also help to stabilize the ball of the humerus firmly in the shoulder socket.

physical_therapy_irs16What Causes Rotator Cuff Pain?

Rotator cuff injury includes any type of irritation or damage to your rotator cuff musculature or tendons. Injury to the rotator cuff may be caused by trauma (such as a fall), lifting and repetitive arm activities, particularly those done overhead.

You are most at risk for rotator cuff pain if you:

  • Are over age 40
  • Participate in a sport or work activity requiring repetitive motions (such as pitchers, swimmers, painters and construction workers)
  • Have poor posture
  • Have fallen on your arm
  • Perform heavy lifting (especially overhead)

Common Rotator Cuff Conditions:

Our Physical Therapists will develop a customized treatment plan to relieve your rotator cuff pain and restore joint mobility. The most common rotator cuff injuries that are effectively treated with physical therapy are:

  • Tendinitis/Tendinosis
  • Bursitis
  • Strains
  • Rotator Cuff Tears (Complete or Partial)

Treatment Options

Our team of Physical Therapists treats patients using evidence-based treatment techniques that speed recovery time while reducing the risk of recurrence of shoulder pain:

  • Manual therapy to decrease pain, increase range of motion, and improve function
  • Therapeutic exercises to stretch and strengthen shoulder and scapular muscles that will decrease shoulder stress and improve function of the shoulder complex
  • Functional exercises that are tailored to your activity level
  • Self-management education to reduce chance of recurrence

Common Rotator Cuff Surgeries

Some rotator cuff injuries do not respond to physical therapy alone. In these instances, surgery is required and physical therapy is a follow-up treatment strategy. The most common surgeries following rotator cuff injuries are:

  • Rotator Cuff Repair (open, mini-open or arthroscopic repair)
  • Partial Shoulder Replacement (hemiarthroplasty)
  • Total Shoulder Replacement (arthroplasty)

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