Due to the structure of the shoulder joint, shoulder injuries are extremely common. Most commonly injured is the rotator cuff.
The rotator cuff refers to a set of four muscles that provide stability and movement to the shoulder.
These include the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis muscles. Due to the lack of shoulder stability, the rotator cuff has to provide active muscular stability of the shoulder joint.
What are the causes and symptoms of a rotator cuff injury?
Rotator cuff injuries are caused by repetitive use, or trauma to the shoulder. Repetitive injuries are usually caused by continuous overhead movements of the shoulder. Specific injuries to the rotator cuff can occur during sudden lifting of heavy objects, falling on the arm or overstretching. Symptoms present as pain and stiffness into the shoulder that can radiate down the arm. Other symptoms can include weakness and loss of full movement.
How can physiotherapy help?
It is essential that treatment is sought immediately to reduce further damage and compensatory strategies. Most rotator cuff injuries will heal with appropriate professional management, however larger tears will require cortisone injection or referral on to a sports doctor.
Treatment would include soft tissue massage, joint mobilisation, acupuncture and exercise prescription to help strengthen the rotator cuff. This will ensure the return of stability back to injured site, enabling get you to return to pain free activity.