Rotator Cuff Blog:

What is the rotator cuff? 

The rotator cuff is a group of muscles that help with providing strength and stability to the shoulder during movement. The muscles that are referenced as the rotator cuff include the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor and subscapularis. These muscles arise at the shoulder blade and connect to the head of the humerus as depicted in the image. 

What is the function of the rotator cuff?

The muscles are used during all shoulder movements. These muscles’ Balanced strength and flexibility provide optimal shoulder girdle movement and health. The rotator cuff muscles stabilise the shoulder joint by ensuring that the head of the humerus sits within the glenoid fossa. This enables a significant range of motion around the shoulder joint as well as preventing mechanical obstruction, which can occur when the head of the humerus moves too much during arm movements. 

What are the common injuries to the rotator cuff?

It is documented that rotator cuff dysfunction can lead to shoulder pain and impaired function. Rotator cuff injuries can occur at any age. In younger ages, it is typically secondary to trauma or arise from overuse due to overhead activities (e.g. sports and overhead work). The rotator cuff muscles can experience degeneration, impingement and tearing with increasing age. Biomechanical factors such as postural dysfunction can affect the rotator cuff muscles and tendons due to repetitive strain and tissue encroachment. 

What can physiotherapy do to help?

Physiotherapy can help improve strength and activation of the rotator cuff muscles in hopes of reducing shoulder pain and improving function. It is important that a thorough assessment is completed to understand the contributing factors to shoulder pain.

Check out the shoulder exercises video with Isabella.