Opening Times: Mon - Fri 9:00 AM - 5:30 PM

The Rotator Cuff is a complex of muscles (Supraspinatus, Infraspinatus, Teres Major & Minor and Subscapularis) that support the stabilization and movement of the shoulder.  Supraspinatus and Infraspinatus are the most commonly injured rotator cuff muscles. Due to the function of these muscles, sports which involve shoulder rotation and overhead movements such as baseball, swimming and tennis often stress the rotator cuff muscles. A rotator cuff injury may be acute or chronic.  Acute injuries include muscle strains, and partial or complete tears.  Chronic injuries include tendinopathy and muscle thickening/strain.  These injuries are frequently complicated by Bursitis and impingement.

Acute

  • Sudden, tearing feeling in the shoulder, followed by severe pain through the arm
  • Limited movement of the shoulder due to pain or muscle spasm
  • Severe pain for a few days (due to bleeding and muscle spasm) which usually resolves quickly Point tender over the rupture/tear
  • Complete tear: unable to abduct arm (raise it out to the side) without assistance

Chronic

  • Usually found on the dominant side
  • Pain is worse at night, and can affect sleeping
  • Gradual worsening of pain, eventually some weakness
  • Eventually unable to abduct arm (list out to the side) without assistance or do any activities with the arm above the head
  • Pain and limitations on abduction, external or internal rotation

Acute

Happens as a result of a sudden, powerful movement. This might include falling onto an outstretched hand, making a sudden thrust with the paddle in kayaking, or during powerful pitch/throw.

Chronic

Associated with overuse, abnormal biomechanics of the shoulder and training errors. Usually occurs at or near the tendons insertion on bone.  Calcium deposits may be seen in “Calcific  Tendinopathy” (supraspinatus tendon)

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RICE

Rest: The patient should rest the shoulder and minimize aggravating movements.  A sling may be required to immobilize the joint.

Ice: Apply a cold compress, wrapped in a towel or in a Trainers Choice compression wrap, to injured area for 15 minutes per hour a minimum of 3 times/day.

Compression: Apply compression by wrapping the shoulder with an elastic wrap.

Elevate: Rest the arm on a pillow away from the body at a 30-40 degree angle, increases the joint space and reduces pressure on tendons.

  • Athletic/Physiotherapy to help regain range of motion, correct biomechanics and muscle imbalances through stretching and strengthening

Recommended Brace/Support

Support/Stabilization