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What is Rotator Cuff Impairment?

The main shoulder joint, the glenohumeral joint, is very mobile, ‘ball and socket’ joint. The humerus (upper arm) makes up the ball, and connects with the socket (glenoid fossa) on the scapula (shoulder blade). The glenoid fossa is very shallow, in order to promote as much movement at the shoulder as possible, as a result, there is very little stability provided by the joint itself. The shoulder gets most of its stability from soft tissue structures like the joint capsule and a few ligaments. The Rotator- Cuff is a group of 4 muscles that act as ‘dynamic ligaments’ to keep the shoulder joint stable. Injury or dysfunction to these muscles can cause pain and significant loss of function.

What caused my Rotator Cuff Impairment?

The Rotator-Cuff can be injured in a few different ways. Tears in the Rotator-Cuff increase in likelihood as you get older, and are particularly prevalent in people over-65. This is because the Rotator-Cuff Tendons undergo natural degenerative change and will weaken as a result. With a healthy tendon, tears and strains are usually associated with higher force, such as lifting injuries or sporting injuries. The rotator-cuff tendons can also be a source of pain without a full tear or strain, changes to the structure of the tendons can lead to weakness and pain on certain activities. This is called Rotator-cuff tendinopathy.

How can you help me with my Rotator Cuff Impairment?

Your treatment plan will be specific to your presentation and what kind if Rotator-Cuff injury you have. Your physiotherapist will conduct a thorough and specific examination in order to create your treatment plan. Typically, your plan will consist of techniques and exercises designed to reduce your rotator-cuff pain and then a rehabilitation program to rebuild strength. Your physiotherapist will also address any contributing factors, such as; posture, strength and mobility, in order to help return you to your optimum condition.

Can I exercise with My Rotator Cuff Impairment?

The short answer is, yes. In most cases it is safe to do some form of exercise if your rotator-cuff is injured. However, you should avoid activities that may aggravate your pain and that will put the Rotator-cuff muscles under any more stress. It is recommended to avoid upper body weights, and overhead exercises until you have seen your physiotherapist. They will be able to guide you on a specific exercise program to complete during your rehabilitation.

What should I do to avoid aggravating my Rotator Cuff Impairment?

  • AVOID overhead activities, particularly during the acute phase.
  • MAINTAIN good posture, particularly during exercise
  • Consider Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories or pain relief. Discuss this you’re your pharmacist
  • REMAIN ACTIVE, but avoid aggravating activities.
  • RECEIVE physiotherapy care to get your joints, ligaments and muscles performing to their optimum level

Keep good care of your body and your physiotherapist will continue to monitor your condition. Once your Rotator Cuff Impairment has resolved you will be able to resume your full activities without worrying about future flare-ups.

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