One of our Physio’s Arlene Marmion (MCSP MISCP) has written this piece on Rotator Cuff injury.
The shoulder is a ball and socket joint that enables the arm to move in a variety of directions. It is made up the humerus and the scapula. The humerus is held in place by the glenohumeral ligaments, capsule, rotator cuff muscles and scapular stabilizing muscles. The rotator cuff is made up of 4 muscles that help with the dynamic stability and movement in the shoulder joint. These muscles are supraspinatus, infraspinatus, subscapularis and teres minor. (Palastanga, Field & Soames 2006)
Rotator cuff injury is any type of damage or irritation of the muscles and tendons of the shoulder joint. Injuries include impingement, tendinopathy, strains and tears. They can either be acute or chronic. (Brukner & Khan 2012)
Causes of a rotator cuff injury include lifting, falling, repetitive activites, overhead activities, throwing and catching a ball, poor posture and degenerative changes to name but a few. They are quite commonly seen in swimmers and tennis/badminton players.
A patient with a rotator cuff injury usually present with pain around their shoulder joint and pain on specific tasks such as pulling and lifting. They will also show weakness and a decrease in movement of the shoulder joint such as reaching above head, behind your back. Night pain is also common. (Brukner & Khan 2012)
The initial treatment of a rotator cuff injury within the first 72 hours consists of the RICE protocol. This included rest, ice compression and elevation. Any aggravating activity must be avoided in the early stages of rehabilitation.
Physiotherapy treatment during rehabilitation includes joint mobilization, soft tissue massage, electrotherapy, dry needling, postural education and exercise to name but a few. Your physiotherapist will also devise and rehabilitation program to improve the flexibility and strength of your shoulder joint to enable return to previous sporting activities. (Ainworth & Lewis 2007)
The success rate of treatment is largely dictated by patient compliance and can take from 3-6months to recover. Your physiotherapist will advise you on what activities to avoid and what exercise and activity is suitable for you to maintain your cardiovascular fitness levels while your shoulder is healing. They will also advise you when it is safe to return to sport and work.
In severe cases, sometimes physiotherapy conservative management of a rotator cuff injury is not successful. If this occurs, your physiotherapist will advise you on the next step of your rehabilitation journey. This may include further investigations to confirm the diagnosis and severity of the injury. (Brukner & Khan 2012)
If you should need any more information, please contact us a Physiocare for an appointment.
If you feel you have any of these symptoms and would like an appointment with Arlene or Click here to speak to one of our staff members