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What is the function of the Rotator Cuff?

shoulder pain

By Kieran Loving, ATC

Who hasn’t used their shoulder at some point? Shoulders are primary movers in daily living for the upper body. At the center of ALL shoulder injuries is the rotator cuff. People frequently say, “I think it’s my rotator cuff, I think I tore it.” But do you know what the rotator cuff is? Where is it located? Is it one muscle? Is it a joint? What exactly is the rotator cuff? Why is it important?

The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint, keeping the head of your upper arm bone firmly within the shoulder socket. It is made up of the SITS muscles:

  • Supraspinatus
  • Infraspinatus
  • Teres minor
  • Subscapularis

Some common injuries to the rotator cuff are impingement syndrome, strains and partial or complete tears. Some common signs and symptoms you might notice include but are not limited to:

    • Pain at rest and at night, particularly if lying on the affected shoulder
    • Pain when lifting and lowering your arm or with specific movements
    • Weakness when lifting or rotating your arm
    • Crepitus or a crackling sensation when moving your shoulder in certain positions
    • Reduced range of motion
    • Inability or difficulty to dress especially coats and jackets
    • Overall reduction in shoulder ability

So what do you do for a rotator cuff problem?

The great news is that physical therapy can help! Physical therapy can increase range of motion, function, endurance and strength of your shoulder. We have plenty of success stories here at Loudoun Sports Therapy Center from the advanced athlete that needs there shoulder to compete to the grandparent who wants t be able to pick up their grandchild. So let us help you to get those shoulders up and moving.

What if I need surgery?

We can help there too! At Loudoun Sports Therapy Center, we can provide a rehabilitation program designed to help strengthen and maintain any functional movements you currently have before a surgical procedure.  We will also be here from the time you complete surgery to the time you return to work and play.

Don’t let shoulder pain or dysfunction stop you from doing the activities you want and d to be able to do. Rotator cuff injuries are not permanent and physical therapy should be your first stop in trying to regain those activities that are important to you in your life. Sleep will also become easier without that pain when shifting positions trying to figure out what is the most comfortable position. Call Loudoun Sports therapy Center TODAY at 703-450-4300 and start handling your shoulder problem.

CLICK HERE to hear from a previous patient who came here because her shoulder pain was interrupting daily activities. 

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