The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint. These muscles help to stabilize the shoulder joint and allow for overhead or shoulder elevation movements.
Rotator cuff injuries are common in athletes and people who engage in overhead activities, such as swimming, tennis and baseball. They can also be caused by overuse, repetitive motions and poor posture.
The symptoms of a rotator cuff injury can vary depending on the severity of the injury. Some common symptoms include:
- Pain in the shoulder, especially when lifting the arm overhead
- Weakness in the shoulder
- Stiffness in the shoulder
- Difficulty sleeping on the affected side
- Clicking or popping in the shoulder
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to see a physiotherapist for diagnosis and treatment.
There are a number of different treatment options for rotator cuff injuries, depending on the severity of the injury. Some common treatment options include:
- Resting from overhead activities with the affected arm or preferencing the other arm
- Strengthening the rotator cuff muscles and tendons
In most cases, rotator cuff injuries can be treated with conservative measures such as rest and activity modification. Physiotherapy can also be helpful in strengthening the muscles around the shoulder and improving range of motion.
In some cases, surgery may be necessary to repair a torn rotator cuff. Surgery is usually only recommended for severe injuries that have not responded to conservative treatment.
With proper treatment, most people with rotator cuff injuries make a full recovery. However, it is important to be patient and to follow your physiotherapist’s instructions carefully.
Here are some tips to help prevent rotator cuff injuries:
- Warm up properly before exercising.
- Gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts.
- Avoid or minimize overhead activities that cause pain.
- Strengthen the muscles around your shoulder.
- Maintain good posture.
- Use proper lifting technique.
If you are experiencing pain in your shoulder, it is important to see a physiotherapist for diagnosis and treatment. Early intervention can help to prevent the pain from becoming chronic.