Rotator Cuff Physiotherapy
Many have heard of the rotator cuff in the shoulder and, not surprisingly, believe it to be a single part of the shoulder. The rotator cuff is, in fact, a group of four muscles that work together to provide dynamic stability of the shoulder joint, helping to control the joint during rotation:
- Teres Minor
The Supraspinatus is a small muscle which you can feel above the bony ridge on the back of your shoulder blade (scapula). It attaches to the top of the arm bone (humerus), just below the shoulder joint. The task of this muscle is to move the arm sideways away from the body for the first 15 degrees. After that other muscles take over most of the load, it is an area of the should that can be torn and is popular for ‘Rotator Cuff Physiotherapy’
The Infraspinatus is a thick triangular muscle, which occupies the main part of the sculptured dent in the back of the shoulder blade, below the bony ridge. As one of the four muscles of the rotator cuff, the main function of the infraspinatus is to turn the arm out as in the backhand in tennis and stabilise the shoulder joint.
The Subscapularis is a large triangular muscle at the front of the shoulder blade, between the shoulder blade and the rib cage. It attaches to the top of the arm bone (humerus) and into the front of the shoulder capsule. Its role is to turn the arm in.
The Teres Minor muscle sits below the Infraspinatus. It is quite a small rounded muscle and its primary task is to stop the arm moving up when it is moved out sideways (abducted). It also helps the Infraspinatus turn the arm out.
TREATMENTS FOR ROTATOR CUFF TENDINITIS
Rotator cuff tendinitis describes the inflammatory response of one or more of the four rotator cuff tendons, due to impingement or overuse, and leading to more and more micro-trauma that can then lead to a tendon rupture and will require Rotator Cuff Physiotherapy.
The inflamed thickening of the tendons often causes the rotator cuff tendons to become trapped under the acromion (the bony projection of the shoulder blade over the shoulder joint) – like a carpet stuck under a door – causing sub-acromial impingement. Failure to heal then leads to further damage. Early treatment of tendinitis, therefore, is necessary in order to prevent the development of more chronic and serious conditions.
Treatment can include: first and foremost scapula re-education exercises, postural exercises to lessen the impingement, gentle shoulder mobilisations and massage, aided by local electrotherapies, such as laser, pulsed shortwave, shockwave and deep oscillation. Specific rehab exercises can help guide you back to full fitness.