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Mar 2021

What is a Rotator Cuff Injury?

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What is a rotator cuff injury?

A rotator cuff injury is an injury to the shoulder muscles that affect the rotation of one’s shoulder either an inner rotation or outer rotation.   The rotator cuff consists of four specific muscles that surround the shoulder consisting of supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor and subscapularis muscles.   Of those four the most commonly injured of them is the supraspinatus muscle. 

The rotator cuff muscles also help to stabilize the shoulder joint as well.   Rotator cuff injuries are quite common as the muscles are often used to do many repetitive tasks such  as cleaning, playing sports and jobs such as painters, carpenters and drywallers.   

Some causes of Rotator Cuff Injuries are:

  • Overuse, impingement (rubbing against) and normal aging may lead to painful tearing of the rotator cuff tendons.
  • Of all the muscles in the rotator cuff, the supraspinatus is the most common.
  • The rotator cuff muscles surround the shoulder joint helping to keep the joint stable and attached.
  • Most often rotator cuff injuries occur due to sports injuries or jobs where repeated repetitive activities are performed. 
  • Most rotator cuff injuries are inflammation to the muscles, so treatment by a physiotherapist is quite successful.

Some signs/symptoms of a rotator cuff injury are:

  • You may notice a dull aching type pain in the shoulder which gets worse when sleeping on the affected shoulder. 
  • Rotator cuff type injuries tend to show symptoms gradually. 
  • Inflammation and swelling develop in the tendons which may result in tendinitis. 
  • Decreased range of motion that can limit the ability to rotate the shoulder or raising the arm above the head.   

Rotator cuff injuries can also be classified as partial or full tears with partial tears the most common.   Rotator cuff injuries can be successfully treated with physiotherapy, massage or acupuncture.   Treatment consists of reducing inflammation and pain, strengthening specific muscles to help stabilize the joint as well as increasing usable range of motion.

For more information contact Dynamic Physiotherapy at 905-273-5433 or at www.dynamicphysiotherapy.ca

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