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Is My Shoulder Pain My Rotator Cuff?

You May Have a Rotator Cuff Injury If:

1. Pain with specific shoulder movement?

2. No pain with other shoulder movement?

3. Weakness with specific shoulder movement?

4. Good strength with other shoulder movements?

How do I know if I have a rotator cuff injury. Take this simple test: With your elbow straight and arm by your side, twist your arm inward as far as you can. Your thumb should be pointing at the floor. Keeping your arm twisted in and elbow straight, lift your arm up to the front of your body. If this causes you pain, you probably have a rotator cuff injury.

The rotator cuff is made up of the tendons of small muscles deep inside your shoulder. A tendon is a bundle of fibers that attach muscle to bone. The rotator cuff holds the shoulder joint ball and socket together.

Injuries of the rotator cuff are the result of wear and tear from use. This wear and tear occurs over a long period of time. Some people feel a specific injury but it was probably the straw that broke the camel's back.

Rotator cuff injuries are also common in athletes like baseball pitchers or tennis players that do a lot of overhead movements. Tears are more common in people over age 40 that do a lot of reaching overhead. Often the pain is from tightness of the space the rotator cuff tendons pass through causing pinching.

There are specific exercises you can do to help prevent rotator cuff injuries. For a link to our YouTube channel 6 common rotator cuff exercises click here. These exercises will help prevent rotator cuff problems. You can do these exercises at home using resistance bands. Generally doing 3 sets of 10 repetitions twice a week will help prevent injury.

Rotator cuff injuries clear-up with physical therapy treatment. This includes stretching and strengthening exercises and hands-on physical therapy called manual therapy. The hands-on therapy helps to ovpen u the narrow space the rotator cuff travels through so ti doesn't get pinched. Very large rotator cuff tears don't get better with this treatment. We will let you know if you have this type of injury.


Christopher DiPasquale, PhD, PT, OCS, SCS, CHT is a physical therapist at Performance Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine with offices in Hebron and Colchester, Connecticut. He is board certified by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties in Orthopedic Physical Therapy and Sports Physical Therapy and a Certified Hand Therapist by the Hand Therapy Certification Committee.

For more information visit or call the office: Colchester 860-537-3014 or Hebron 860-228-4883

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