The rotator cuff muscles of your shoulder play an important role in your everyday movements. From reaching for a glass on the top shelf to simply scratching your back, these muscles are responsible for a wide range of motions.
But what exactly are the rotator cuff muscles, and what do they do? In this article, we'll take a closer look at the rotator cuff muscles and their function in your body.
Anatomy of your Rotator Cuff
Your rotator cuff is made up of four muscles: the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis. These muscles attach to your shoulder blade and upper arm bone (humerus), and work together to move your arm.
Your rotator cuff muscles are important for both stabilizing your shoulder joint and allowing a wide range of motion in your arm. When these muscles are working properly, they help keep your shoulder joint stable while allowing you to move your arm in a variety of directions. Our previous blog post covered in more depth anatomy of your shoulder and efficient movement of your arm.
How do Rotator Cuff Injuries Happen?
Rotator cuff injuries are common, especially in athletes or people who participate in overhead motions on a regular basis. The rotator cuff muscles and tendons can become weak or damaged from overuse, resulting in pain and limited range of motion in the shoulder.
In some cases, rotator cuff injuries can also be caused by a sudden trauma to the shoulder, such as falling or being hit by something. This type of injury is more likely to occur in people who participate in contact sports, like football or hockey.
Symptoms of a Rotator Cuff Injury
If you have a rotator cuff injury, you may notice pain and weakness in your shoulder. You may also have difficulty moving your arm or participating in activities that you used to enjoy.
Other common symptoms of a rotator cuff injury include:
- Pain that gets worse when you lift your arm or reach overhead
- Difficulty sleeping on the affected shoulder
- A crackling sensation when moving your arm
- Weakness in your arm or difficulty moving it
If you suspect that you have a rotator cuff injury, it's important to see a doctor or orthopedic specialist for an evaluation. They will be able to determine the cause of your pain and develop a treatment plan to help you get back to your normal activities.
Treatment for Rotator Cuff Injuries
The treatment for a rotator cuff injury will vary depending on the severity of the injury. In some cases, rest and ice may be enough to reduce inflammation and pain.
When Should I see a Physiotherapist?
If you are experiencing pain in your rotator cuff, it is best to seek professional help. A physiotherapist can help you determine the cause of your pain and develop a treatment plan to reduce your pain. Physiotherapists will work with you to create a rehabilitation program that includes exercises and stretches to help improve your range of motion and strength. They may also recommend exercises or stretches to help improve the range of motion in your shoulder.
At Family Physiotherapy, our team of physiotherapists is experienced in treating rotator cuff injuries. We will work with you to create a tailored treatment plan that meets your individual needs. Contact us today to book an appointment.