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What is a rotator cuff injury?

Overview

The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles that surround the shoulder joint, keeping the head of your upper arm bone firmly within the shallow socket of the shoulder. A rotator cuff injury can cause a dull ache in the shoulder, which often worsens with use of the arm away from the body.

Rotator cuff injuries are common and increase with age. These may occur earlier in people who have jobs that require repeatedly performing overhead motions, or people that play repetitive sports with an overhead element - Tennis, Golf, Weight lifting. 

Many people with rotator cuff injuries can manage their symptoms and return to activities with physiotherapy exercises that aim to improve flexibility and strength of the muscles surrounding the shoulder joint.

Sometimes, rotator cuff tears may occur as a result of a single injury. In those circumstances, we often look to seek the advice of orthopaedic specialists or sports physicians to discuss your treatment. 

 

Symptoms

The pain associated with a rotator cuff injury may:

  • Be described as a dull ache deep in the shoulder

  • Disturb your sleep

  • Make it difficult to wash your hair or reach behind your back

  • Be accompanied by arm weakness

 

Prevention

If you are at risk of rotator cuff injuries or if you've had a rotator cuff injury in the past, daily shoulder strengthening exercises can help prevent future injury. Click here to find out more

Most people exercise the front muscles of the chest, shoulder and upper arm, but it is equally important to strengthen the muscles in the back of the shoulder and around the shoulder blade to optimise shoulder muscle balance. We see rotator cuff injuries almost everyday, so we have the experience to guide you through an individual exercise plan if you require one