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Guide Heal Your Rotator Cuff

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The right treatment can make you feel better, keep a small injury from getting worse, and help you heal. For many people, physical therapy PT is the answer.

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It may be all you need to treat an injured rotator cuff. PT is a way to get back strength and movement after an injury. It includes things like exercise , ice, heat, massage , and equipment to help return your shoulder back to its normal range of motion.

The rotator cuff is a group of tendons and muscles in your shoulder. It helps you lift and rotate your arm. And it keeps the shoulder steady as your arm moves. A rotator cuff tear can be caused by different things. The rotator cuff muscles are the dynamic stabilizers and movers of the shoulder joint and adjust the position of the humeral head and scapula during shoulder movement. The rotator cuff muscles are anatomically associated with the scapula. Any changes in the movement of the scapula with shoulder range of motion can cause impingement of the rotator cuff muscles, causing problems with the movement of the shoulder itself.


  1. Common Injuries.
  2. Torn Rotator Cuff Exercises.
  3. How to Stretch & Exercise a Rotator Cuff Tear for Complete Healing & Recovery.
  4. Something to Talk About (Cochran/Deveraux Series Book 6)?

Other muscles that help move and stabilize the shoulder include the deltoid, teres major, corachobrachialis, latissimus dorsi, and pectoralis major. The severity of injury may range from a mild strain and inflammation of the muscle or tendon, that will lead to no permanent damage, to a partial or complete tear of one of the rotator cuff muscles that might require surgery for rotator cuff repair.

Rotator cuff injury - Diagnosis and treatment - Mayo Clinic

Rotator Cuff Injury Picture. Injuries to muscle-tendon units are called strains and are classified by the amount of damage to the muscle or tendon fibers. Grade I strains involve stretching of the fibers without any tears. Grade II injuries involve partial muscle or tendon tearing, and grade III injuries are defined as a complete tear of a muscle or tendon.

The muscles and tendons in the rotator cuff group may be damaged in a variety of ways. Damage can occur from an acute injury for example from a fall or accident , from chronic overuse like throwing a ball or lifting , or from gradual degeneration of the muscle and tendon that can occur with aging. Most of the time, rotator cuff injuries are caused by repetitive stress on the rotator cuff, or degeneration caused by aging.

Such repetitive stress can include injuries sustained from sports, particularly those that require a lot of shoulder movement such as baseball, tennis, swimming, weightlifting, and football. As we age, reduced blood supply to the rotator cuff tendons means damage does not repair itself as well, and bone spurs bony overgrowths can also weaken the tendon and lead to tears.

Symptoms of a rotator cuff injury are due to the inflammation that accompanies the strain. This inflammation causes swelling, leading to the clinical picture of pain and decreased range of motion. Because the muscles and tendons of the rotator cuff are hidden well below skin level, it may be hard to feel the swelling that accompanies the injury, but that swelling within the small space that makes up the shoulder joint prevents the normal range of motion of the shoulder and causes the pain that occurs with movement. Not all shoulder pain arises from the shoulder.

Sometimes angina , or pain from coronary artery disease from the heart, can be referred to the shoulder. Pain from the gallbladder or diaphragm can also be felt in the shoulder region, often in the shoulder blade area. Pain from a rotator cuff injury is worsened with shoulder movement. However, if the rotator cuff is severely damaged, the joint may not be stable or work properly. In a reverse shoulder replacement, the normal ball-and-socket structure is reversed. An artificial ball is attached to the shoulder blade. An artificial socket is attached to the top of the arm bone.

The large deltoid muscle that covers the shoulder is typically able to move the arm.

Do I Need Physical Therapy for a Rotator Cuff Tear?

An incision or cut is made in the front of the arm and shoulder. The surgeon separates muscles and cuts through tissue to expose the joint. The upper arm bone is removed from the socket. The top of the arm bone is cut off and prepared to receive an artificial part. The socket is also prepared.

A plate is screwed to the socket and a half-sphere attached. The metal stem is inserted in the arm bone, and a plastic socket is attached to the top. The new socket is fitted against the new ball to allow smooth movement.

Rotator Cuff Injury

The tissue is sewn together around the joint, and the incision is closed. A minor rotator cuff injury often heals on its own, with proper care. If you think you've injured your rotator cuff, try these steps:. You'll probably start by seeing your family doctor.

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If your injury is severe, you might be referred to an orthopedic surgeon. If you've been treated for a similar problem in the past, you may need to bring past records and imaging studies with you to your appointment. Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may reserve time to go over any points you want to spend more time on.

Your doctor may ask:. Rotator cuff injury care at Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic does not endorse companies or products. Advertising revenue supports our not-for-profit mission. This content does not have an English version. This content does not have an Arabic version.