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.

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