How do you prevent a rotator cuff injury?
Rotator cuff injuries occur when the structures surrounding the shoulder joint are damaged in some way, causing pain, weakness, and decreased range of motion
Rotator cuff injuries can be caused by repetitive stress on the shoulder, degeneration of the shoulder tissue, or traumatic falls, throws, and hits. Rotator cuff injuries can be treated with a mix of isometric and resistance based training, with a varied treatment time based on the severity of the injury.
To prevent rotator cuff injuries from occurring, it is recommended that you strengthen the shoulder and surrounding structures with a specialized exercise program.
What does a rotator cuff injury feel like?
A rotator cuff injury occurs when the group of muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint are damaged. There are generally two categories of rotator cuff injuries. The first category is strains and tears, most commonly caused by trauma such as a fall or repetitive trauma. The second category is tendinopathies, most commonly caused by repetitive load or overload on the tendons in the shoulder such as repeatedly reaching overhead or repeated throwing.
Some common symptoms of rotator cuff injuries are:
- Pain in the front, side, or back of the shoulder
- Clicking and popping sounds
- Weakness and instability in the shoulder
- Stiffness or decreased range of motion
What are the most common causes of rotator cuff injuries?
Rotator cuff injuries can be caused by an injury to the shoulder or by wear and tear of the tendon tissue in the shoulder. People who have jobs that require repetitive overhead reaching motions, such as painters, are more susceptible to rotator cuff injuries, specifically tendon injuries (tendinopathies) in the shoulder.
Rotator cuff injuries can be caused by:
- Traumatic falls, throws, and hits
- Repetitive stress on the shoulder (ex: lifting, throwing, reaching)
- Aging and degeneration of the tissue
How do you treat a rotator cuff injury?
At The Bridge, we treat rotator cuff injuries with an individual’s goals and daily activities in mind.
Depending on the stage and severity of the rotator cuff injury, the first step is to try and control any symptoms that the individual may be experiencing. We do this by incorporating isometric based strength exercises into a patient’s treatment plan. Isometric exercises are a great way to strengthen the rotator cuff without straining it.
The next step is to directly target the rotator cuff and surrounding structures through dynamic resistance work. During this stage, exercises like kettlebell presses, carries, and rows would all be staples in the patient’s exercise programming.
While treating clients with rotator cuff injuries, we also focus on structures around the cuff, especially the muscles and joints surrounding the shoulder, as they play a huge role in biomechanics and performance of the rotator cuff.
The time it takes to treat a rotator cuff injury depends on the severity of the injury and can vary from person to person based on their lifestyle and daily activities.