The Rotator Cuff is a group of 4 muscles that surround the shoulder joint. This group of muscles is commonly injured in sports that require lots of throwing. However, not all rotator cuff injuries start as a result of acute injuries, it is also very common in older people to see chronic inflammation and tendon tearing as a result of repetitive use or long term poor biomechanics of the shoulder.
The 4 muscles that make up the Rotator Cuff are
- Teres Minor
These 4 muscles all originate from the scapula (shoulder blade) and connect to the upper part of the humerus bone (upper arm) at the shoulder joint.
The main function of the Rotator Cuff is to stabilise the ball of the humerus bone into the socket of the shoulder joint which is formed by the scapula. In addition to this stabilising function, the 4 muscles all have certain movements they are responsible for. Supraspinatus helps to lift your arm away from your body out to the side, Infraspinatus and Teres Minor externally rotate the shoulder and Subscapularis internally rotates the shoulder.
Two main Rotator Cuff injuries are treated here at Osteopathic Works. Tears to the muscle or attaching tendons or impingement of these structures. Patients usually present with the following
- Pain in vague distribution around the outside of the shoulder
- Weakness when lifting the arm especially above 90 degrees
- Difficulty with sleeping on the affected side
Shoulders often are slow healing so as a patient you need to be patient in your recovery and follow any rehabilitation protocol strictly. In the event that manual therapy is not reducing symptoms, cortisone injections are commonly used to aid in the patient’s recovery.