The rotator cuff (RC) is the name for 4 muscles that provide strength and stability to the shoulder joint. It keeps the head of the upper arm bone connected firmly with the socket in the shoulder. These muscles play an essential role in almost every shoulder movement and maintaining shoulder stability. However, RC dysfunctions can lead to shoulder pain, impaired function and reduced quality of life.
Pain associated with the RC are localized at the front and side of the shoulder with referred down the upper arm. Typical symptoms include pain and difficulty when lifting, pushing, overhead movements and bringing the hand behind the back. The pain is often described as a dull ache deep in the shoulder, disturbs sleep and associated with arm weakness.
RC Injuries occur often in people who perform repeated overhead movements in their job or sport. The repeated movements can cause little tears in the tendon that over time produce inflammation and present with the associated symptoms listed above. RC injuries can also be caused by traumatic injuries (ex. fall, tackle).
RC Injuries are most common in people who relate to the following:
- Repeated overhead motion jobs/sports (QB, carpenters, painters)
- Age > 40
- Diabetes, smoking, alcohol
- Traumatic fall/injury to shoulder
A Physiotherapist will perform a thorough history to confirm the presence of a RC injury. Specific shoulder tests will be conducted to confirm what areas of the shoulder is affected. Following the exam, an individualized plan will be outlined to help you reach your goals and improve the overall function of the shoulder.
If you believe you might have any RC injury, contact us and make an appointment with one of our Physiotherapists today!