Rotator Cuff Injuries of the shoulder

Published 30th November 2017 by Beraldo Lilli 

Pain in the shoulder is the third most common musculoskeletal complaint, which affects approximately 1% of the adult population, with 65 – 70% of all shoulder pain related to injury to the rotator cuff tendons. Of these, it is estimated that 5 to 40% have full-thickness tears of the rotator cuff tendon. Tendinopathies or inflammation of the rotator cuff tendon and tears are age related and commonly degenerative pathologies. Many individuals present to their general medical practitioner and are referred to an orthopaedic surgeon for surgical repair.

The role of exercise in treating rotator cuff tears has become increasingly popular as a means to treat and manage partial and full thickness tear to the rotator cuff, by addressing weakness and functional deficits that are commonly present him patients with symptomatic shoulders. Prolonged exercise rehabilitation and non-operative treatment should be considered in patients with rotator cuff tendinopathies, partial-thickness tears or small full-thickness tears.

The primary aim in treating a rotator cuff tear through conservative management is to reduce pain and improve function, and exercise rehabilitation is usually the cornerstone of this conservative management plan. Restoration of full, pain-free range of motion, flexibility, muscle balance, and scapulothoracic and glenohumeral muscular control and stability, are all-important goals of the rehabilitation. Understanding the impact that cuff tears have on shoulder complex function and muscle activation patterns can contribute to designing a restorative exercise rehabilitation program. Strengthening of the rotator cuff muscles is important to provide accurate positioning and stabilization of the humeral head in the glenoid fossa, preventing excessive elevation of the humerus, which may cause impingement and compression of the tendon against the coraoacromial arch.

Our physiotherapist have a special interest in treating simple and complex rotator cuff injuries and pain.

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