Rotator Cuff Strains, Tendinitis, Tears, and Repairs

The rotator cuff is a group of four shoulder muscles that provide stability as well as mobility to your shoulder for correct function of the shoulder joint and therefore the entire arm. Common injuries to these muscles include strains, tendinitis, and tears. If the latter of these is significant enough, a surgical repair may be needed. Strains result from excessive force through the tissue that can lead to minor tearing in the muscle. Tendinitis results from overuse, especially with repetitive movements.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS:

  • Shoulder and arm pain, especially with overhead and repetitive activities
  • Reduced shoulder range of motion
  • Weakness throughout the arm
  • Difficulty elevating your arm above shoulder height if you have a significant or full tear

HOW CAN PHYSICAL THERAPY HELP?

Strains and tendinitis are common injuries treated with physical therapy, and if a tear is small or moderate in size, many recover function with PT by strengthening what muscles are still there. Treatment for these injuries may include interventions to restore normal joint mechanics and mobility, restoring normal range of motion, improving muscle activation, optimizing posture, and increasing functional strength. Following a surgical repair of a tear, your PT will follow a post-operative rehab protocol to ensure proper healing, focusing initially on pain control and improving mobility, progressing as appropriate to strengthening, postural work, and restoring normal function. Your PT will provide a home exercise program to ensure optimal recovery.

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