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Today, I want to talk about Rotator Cuff Injury. Hope this helps.

An injury to the Rotator Cuff can be career-threatening for tennis players and other athletes. It can also affect people who have to do a lot of lifting overhead at work.

A Rotator Cuff is a group of 4 tendons and muscles in the shoulder, connecting the upper arm (humerus), to the shoulder blade (scapula). The tendons provide stability and the muscles give support and allow the shoulder to rotate.

While your shoulder is one of your most mobile joints, it’s also somewhat weaker. Too much stress can cause partial tears and swelling in the rotator cuff. Severe, sudden stress, can cause one of the tendons to pull away from the bone, or tear in the middle. Over time, repetitive overhead movements, such as military shoulder press, or activities that require a lot of shoulder mobility (such as throwing a ball or swimming), can lead to a rotator cuff strain. As you age, the risk can become worse as the tendons begin to decline. Athletes prone to rotator cuff tears include, swimmers, tennis players and cricket players, especially bowlers. You can also get a rotator cuff tear by falling on your shoulder, using an arm to break your fall and lifting heavy weights.

Symptoms, include, 1) Pain in the shoulder and arm, which varies depending on how severe the tear is. 2) Weakness and tenderness in the shoulder. 3) Difficulty moving the shoulder, especially when trying to lift your arm above your head. 4) Snapping or crackling sounds when moving the shoulder and 5) Not being able to sleep on the shoulder. Most rotator cuff tears develop gradually.

Treatment. As bad as these injuries can be, the good news is that many rotator cuff tears heal on their own. You just need to give them some time. You should 1) Rest the joint as much as possible. Avoid any movement or activity that hurts. You could use a sling. 2) Put ice on your shoulder 2 or 3 times a day,15 minutes each time to reduce pain and swelling. 3) Carry out range of movement exercises if your therapist recommends. 4) Physiotherapy to strengthen the joint. 5) Use anti-inflammatory painkillers as advised.

Good strength exercises are Standing Lateral Rotation with theraband, Prone Lateral Rotation, Standing Internal Rotation with theraband, or functional exercises such as medicine ball shoulder exercises. Focus on selecting weights that are not too heavy to allow the rotator cuff muscles to work without relying on the deltoids and pectoral muscles.

If you are suffering from a nagging injury, or want some advice or treatment, feel free to contact me at  the Future Bodies gym in Okehampton.

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