WHAT IS THE ROTATOR CUFF?
The rotator cuff is a group of tendons in the shoulder that combine to help provide stability to the shoulder joint. As the shoulder has a large range of motion, it is easy to see that these muscles play an important role. With this large range of movement however, the stabilising cuff muscles/tendons are prone to injury.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF A ROTATOR CUFF TEAR?
Common symptoms of a cuff injury include;
- shoulder pain
- weakness, particularly when the arm is up in the air
- pain running down the outside of the shoulder muscles
- clicking +/or popping in the shoulder with movement
- difficulty lying on the affected shoulder in bed
HOW IS IT DIAGNOSED & TREATED?
A rotator cuff injury is commonly diagnosed in the clinic by a Physiotherapist or Myotherapist using their clinical reasoning. Depending on the level of disability, the shoulder often responds well to conservative treatment such as; rest, ice, mobilising the shoulder, and rehabilitative exercises. If the symptoms don’t improve with 3 weeks or if the impairment is significant, a referral for imaging may be required. Depending on the severity of the tear, surgical intervention to repair the tear followed by rehabilitation may be required.