Rotator Cuff Injury

The rotator cuff connects the bone of your upper arm to the shoulder blade and helps to keep the joint in place. It is comprised of a group of tendons and muscles, damage to any of which can cause a rotator cuff injury. Partaking in sports with repetitive arm movements increases the risk of such injuries.


You will experience pain and tenderness in the shoulder area. The pain may increase when you perform reaching or lifting activities that place strain on the shoulder (these can be as minor as reaching over your back to put on some clothing), and through leaning on the injured area while sleeping. The shoulder's regular range of movement might be greatly diminished, replete with strong physical urges to keep the joint motionless. With severe injuries the pain may be chronic.


Repetitive motion of the arm over a long period can lead to a rotator cuff injury. In sport this often involves overhead movements such as throwing balls, performing strokes in swimming, and hitting over-arm racquet shots. This can cause inflammation of crucial tendons, known as tendonitis. Incorrect posture during activity can also contribute to a rotator cuff injury, as the space assigned for the muscles can shrink. Other causes include a bad fall in which your arm takes the brunt of the force, and excessive lifting of a large weight to which your body is not accustomed. The general accumulation of wear on the muscles after age 40 is another common cause.


Take a break from all activities that cause the shoulder pain until the injury is healed. In addition to sport this may include everyday movements with an overhead dimension, as it is of utmost importance to rest the muscles properly. However, when a couple of days have passed you should begin a careful program of stretching and strengthening the muscles in order to combat stiffness.

Reduce swelling and pain by icing the affected area regularly, and perhaps taking anti-inflammatory medication after checking with a doctor. Heat therapy can be beneficial when a few days have passed and pain is decreasing, applying heat pads or similar remedies to the area.

Medical Treatment

If you are incapable of using your arm, experiencing debilitating shoulder pain, or if lesser pain continues for over a week, consult a medical professional. Talk with your doctor about healing exercises for your rotator cuff muscles. This physical therapy should help to steadily develop your muscle flexibility and to strengthen and balance the shoulder muscles where necessary. The length required for the therapy will depend on the severity of the condition. For extreme pain, corticosteroid injections may be implemented. If a rotator cuff muscle has become severely torn then a doctor might recommend minor surgery.


Regular stretching and strengthening of the rotator cuff area should help to avoid the injury returning. Try to develop all of your shoulder muscles so that they are balanced in strength; your doctor can assist in suggesting helpful exercises. Always take regular rests during activities necessitating repetitive shoulder movements, switching arm occasionally if feasible.

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