A rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint, keeping the head of your upper arm bone firmly within the shallow socket of the shoulder.
A rotator cuff tear is a common injury, especially in sports like baseball or tennis, or in jobs like painting or cleaning windows. A torn rotator cuff will weaken your shoulder. This means that many daily activities, like combing your hair or getting dressed, may become painful and difficult to do.
The weakness of the arm may occur if the condition is allowed to deteriorate. Dr. Vipin Tyagi says if the tear becomes very large, the muscles around the shoulder may waste away to the point where you can see it. When one or more of the rotator cuff tendons is torn, the tendon no longer fully attaches to the head of the humerus. Tears may occur as the result of a sudden force or gradually over time
Rotator cuff tear symptoms
Many rotator cuff tears have no symptoms. You can’t always feel a torn rotator cuff. But in some cases, you might:
– Have trouble raising your arm
– Feel pain when you move your arm in certain ways or lie on it
– Have weakness in your shoulder
– Be unable to lift things like you normally do
– Hear clicking or popping when you move your arm
– Because most rotator cuff tears are largely caused by normal wear and tear that goes along with aging, people over 40 are at greater risk.
– People who do repetitive lifting or overhead activities are also at risk for rotator cuff tears. Athletes are especially vulnerable to overuse tears, particularly tennis players and baseball pitchers. Painters, carpenters, and others who do overhead work also have a greater chance for tears.
– Although overuse tears caused by sports activity or overhead work also occur in younger people, most tears in young adults are caused by a traumatic injury, like a fall.
Rotator Cuff Tear Treatments
As per Orthopedists in Raj Nagar, most rotator cuff tears can be treated without surgery. In fact, only a small minority of patients end up undergoing surgical treatment for a rotator cuff tear.
There are other nonsurgical options available for treatment of rotator cuff injuries, including steroid injections to decrease inflammation in the tight spaces where the muscle tendons run across the shoulder joint, therapeutic ultrasound, shockwave therapy, and dry needling.
Exercises for Rotator Cuff Pain
Try using the “RICE” method immediately following an injury: Rest, ice, compression, and elevation work together to reduce pain and swelling. Once swelling has gone down and your arm is no longer painful to move, certain exercises can help you heal and prevent issues such as “frozen shoulder” or loss of range of motion.
These exercises include:
– Doorway stretch:
1. Warm up your muscles by standing in an open doorway and spreading your arms out to the side.
2. Grip the sides of the doorway with each hand at or below shoulder height, and lean forward through the doorway until you feel a light stretch.
3. Keep a straight back as you lean and shift your weight onto your toes. You should feel a stretch in the front of your shoulder. Do not overstretch.
– Side-lying external rotation:
1. Lie down on the side opposite your injured arm.
2. Bend the elbow of your injured arm to 90 degrees and rest the elbow on your side. Your forearm should rest across your abdomen.
3. Hold a light dumbbell in the injured side’s hand and, keeping your elbow against your side, slowly raise the dumbbell toward the ceiling. Stop rotating your arm if you feel strain.
4. Hold the dumbbell up for a few seconds before returning to the start position with your arm down.
5. Repeat 3 sets of 10 up to 3 times per day. Increase reps to 20 when a set of 10 becomes easy.
– High-to-low rows:
1. Attach a resistance band to something sturdy at or above shoulder height. Be sure it is secure so it doesn’t come to lose when you pull on it.
2. Get down on one knee so the knee opposite your injured arm is raised. Your body and lowered knee should be aligned. Rest your other hand on your raised knee.
3. Holding the band securely with your arm outstretched, pull your elbow toward your body. Keep your back straight and squeeze your shoulder blades together and down as you pull. Your body should not move or twist with your arm.
4. Return to start and repeat 3 sets of 10.
– Reverse fly:
1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. Keep your back straight and bend forward slightly at the waist.
2. With a lightweight in each hand, extend your arms and raise them away from your body. Do not lock your elbow. Squeeze your shoulder blades together as you do so. Do not raise your arms above shoulder height.
3. Return to start and repeat 3 sets of 10.
– Lawnmower pull:
1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Place one end of a resistance band under the foot opposite your injured arm. Hold the other end with the injured arm, so the band goes diagonally across your body.
2. Keeping your other hand on your hip and without locking your knees, bend slightly at the waist so the hand holding the band is parallel to the opposite knee.
3. As if starting a lawn mower in slow motion, straighten upright while pulling your elbow across the body to your outside ribs. Keep your shoulders relaxed and squeeze your shoulder blades together as you stand.
4. Repeat 3 sets of 10.