Rotator Cuff Injuries

What is the rotator cuff?

The rotator cuff is composed of four small muscles that surround the shoulder joint, which looks like a ball and socket. These muscles play small roles in shoulder movement but their main job is to stabilize the head of the humerus in its joint socket. When the rotator cuff muscles become weak or uncoordinated, it can lead to alignment changes and pain in the shoulder.

What kinds of injuries occur at the rotator cuff?

Due to the normal anatomy of the shoulder, the rotator cuff muscles and the tendons that attach them to bone are somewhat vulnerable to injury. These tendons run underneath a bony arch called the acromion for protection. However, with movement dysfunctions or inflammation, the tendons and associated bursae can become aggravated, compressed, or torn underneath the arch. Since we rely on the rotator cuff for stability and strength in the shoulder, injuries to the area can be quite painful and debilitating. Factors such as acute injury, chronic overuse, or poor postural control, can result in:

  • Rotator cuff impingement
  • Rotator cuff tendonitis/tendonopathy
  • Rotator cuff tears
  • Shoulder bursitis
  • Adhesive capsulitis (frozen shoulder)

Common Symptoms

  • Pain with reaching overhead or behind the back
  • Pain located anywhere from the shoulder down to the elbow
  • Weakness when trying to lift or reach
  • Clicking/popping sounds with certain movements
  • Shoulder pain at rest or when trying to sleep

Treatment Strategies

In order to determine the solution for your shoulder pain, book a physiotherapy, chiropractic, or massage therapy  appointment with one of our skilled clinicians. After a thorough assessment, your therapist will determine a treatment plan.

Some of the treatment techniques that may be beneficial include: