Rotator cuff rehabilitation
The rotator cuff is made up of the group of tendons and muscles that surround the shoulder joint. The tendons of the rotator cuff are usually the point of injury when an incident has occurred. It is these tendons that connect the rotator cuff muscles to the bone. When the tendons are inflamed or torn, they cannot function properly.
Pain is the most common symptom of a rotator cuff injury. Patients usually complain of pain over the top of the shoulder and arm. Pain may also run down the outside of the arm all the way to the elbow. The other common symptom of a rotator cuff tear is weakness of the shoulder. Weakness causes difficulty lifting the arm up overhead or difficulty with activities such as reaching, getting dressed, or carrying objects. Various activities contribute to rotator cuff injuries. People who have leg or knee problems will push themselves up off a chair with their arms, which is not what shoulders were designed to do. Athletes who engage in throwing or racquet sports often suffer tears because of the abrupt overhead movements. Repetitive overhead reaching by mechanics, construction workers or by swimmers can cause injury as well. All of these activities can cause friction and inflammation in the rotator cuff, which can lead to tears, tendonitis and bursitis.
Pain, loss of motion and weakness are symptoms of a rotator cuff injury. These can persist for months or years, and usually become worse over time.
Based on the severity of symptoms and functional requirements, a rehabilitation program can be designed to improve:
- Circulation – Increasing blood flow to the rotator cuff muscles is very important and can improve your body’s circulation, as these muscles usually receive very little blood from the body.
- Range of Motion – Using strengthening exercises, the shoulder’s flexibility and range of motion can be restored.
- Strength – Exercises are especially important to athletes as it helps keep their shoulders and arms strengthened and plays a preventive role in avoiding future injuries.
- Shoulder Movement – The shoulder plays an important role in everyday tasks and simple movements.
- Stabilization – Targeted exercises that include strength building routines to help stability of the shoulder.