Rotator Cuff Injury

Rotator cuff injuries are a common problem

One of the most common issues faced by many active people in their everyday lives is rotator cuff injury. Folks are familiar with the term but are not exactly aware of what it really is. One of the common misconceptions is that exercise and movement therapy only makes the condition worse. The truth is, moderate exercise is the only proper therapy to fix the problem.

What is Rotator Cuff Injury?

According to WebMD, a rotator cuff injury is a common repercussion of activities like sports such as baseball or tennis, or other physical work. Basically, rotator cuff is a set of the four muscles – supraspinatus, subscapularis, teres minor, and infraspinatus – that keep joint of the shoulder stable so that you can elevate and rotate your arms.

A partial rotator cuff damage involves harm, weakness or partial tearing of the shoulder tendon. A complete tear extends throughout the tendon or pulls the whole tendon off the bone. It normally occurs over time due to regular wear-and-tear, or because of repetitive motion and arm movement. That said, it can also happen suddenly by falling on your arm or lifting heavy objects.

According to Medscape, the incidence of complete rotator cuff tears is about 5-40% and can be seen rising along the advanced age groups. Cadaver studies by Bigliani et al state that 39% of people above have complete rotator cuff tears and an even higher frequency of partial tears.

What are the causes?

Rotator cuff injuries can occur because of any physical injury afflicted to the shoulder or because of progressive degeneration or wear-and-tear of the tendons. Repetitive arm motion or heavy lifting for a long period of time can irritate or tear the tendon as well.

The common risk factors that everyone should be aware of are:

  • Age: As you grow older, your chances of getting a rotator cuff injury increases. Complete cuff tears are most common in people above the age of 40.
  • Sports: Athletes who focus on repetitive arm movements like baseball pitchers, archers, and tennis players, have greater chances of developing a rotator cuff injury.
  • Construction jobs: Physical work such as carpentry or house painting involves repetitive overhead movements of the arm, which can damage the rotator cuff as time progresses.
  • Family history: There can be a genetic predisposition towards rotator cuff injuries since they are seen to be prevalent more commonly in certain families.
  • You should make sure to get a proper checkup by the right physiotherapists and specialists at Pillars of Wellness to see if you’re a risk of getting rotator cuff injuries.


The symptoms of rotator cuff injuries can be instantaneous or gradual. These symptoms are:

  • Pain: The pain that comes with rotator cuff injuries can be described as being dull and deep in the shoulder. It can affect your sleep, especially if you sleep on the same shoulder. It also makes arm movements for reaching behind your back or combing your hair extremely difficult.
  • Weakness: Arm and shoulder weakness is also a common occurrence with rotator cuff injuries, which makes movement very difficult.
  • Joint clicking/popping: Injuries to the tendon or muscles can cause your shoulder joint to pop and click when the arm is being moved.
  • See a doctor if you face any of these signs. Avoiding therapy and treatment can lead to more severity of the condition. You could end up with a frozen shoulder or arthritis, both of which are more difficult to treat. Get your consultation at Pillars of Wellness now!


    To definitively figure out if you have a rotator cuff injury, your doctor will begin with a history of the injury as well as a physical examination of the shoulder. During the exam, your doctor will see the degree and range of motor skills and muscle strength. They will also check which motions make your shoulder hurt.

    In addition, doctors may recommend imaging tests like MRI, CT, and X-rays. MRI uses radio waves and a strong magnet to get a clear picture of your shoulder. X-rays are taken to check if the head of the arm bone, or the humeral head, is pushing into the rotator cuff space. Ultrasound is done to examine the soft tissues like tendons, muscles, and bursas of your shoulder.


    Regular treatments like rest and cool/warm compresses are sometimes all that is required to recover from a rotator cuff injury. If these treatments don’t reduce the pain, your doctor might recommend steroid injections, especially if the pain is affecting your sleep, daily work or exercise. While these shots can provide short-living relief, they should be considered carefully since they can result in weakening of the tendon.

    Surgery is a treatment option for more severe or debilitating cases. Surgery options include arthroscopic tendon repair, open tendon repair, tendon transfer and shoulder replacement.

    Surgery isn’t always the best option

    Glenn Stok tore his rotator cuff several years back. After his doctor explained his recovery options, he decided to research and learn everything he required to know how to make the right choice regarding treatment. That is when he decided not to have surgery. He was able to recover simply through conservative treatments, physiotherapy, and moderate exercise.

    Physiotherapy – the perfect solution for rotator cuff injuries!

    Pillars of Wellness offers the best physiotherapy Burlington in Aldershot, along with other services like Holistic Nutrition, Yoga, Naturopathy, and Chiropractic to name a few. Physiotherapy is recommended to patients suffering from any rotator cuff injury. Other than that, moderate exercise including biking, walking, and lightweight training is also recommended by doctors. Trainers and physiotherapists make sure to encourage you to get back to your old self.

    In conclusion, it is encouraged to take care of yourself before getting any injury or disease later on. Prevention is better than treatment. People should opt for healthy lifestyles, so contact Pillars of Wellness’ physiotherapist to avoid and treat problems like rotator cuff injuries. Regular exercise can be a great deal of help for healthy living and strong bones.

    You can send an email to Pillars of Wellness to ask about any health concerns.

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