Chances are good that you have heard the term “rotator cuff”, but how much do you really know about it? Find out here!
What is the rotator cuff?
The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that surround your shoulder joint. They keep the head of your upper arm bone firmly within the socket of your shoulder.
What are the ways in which your rotator cuff can be injured?
The fibers of the muscles and tendons may be stretched out (not torn), or if more serious, the muscle or tendon may be partially torn. In the most severe cases, the muscle or tendon is completely torn.
What does a rotator cuff injury feel like?
It varies, depending on the level of injury, but it feels like a painful, dull ache in the shoulder. You would want to avoid sleeping on the affected side (if you could even sleep on that side at all) because it can be very uncomfortable.
What are the most common ways to injure your rotator cuff?
- Overusing the muscle
- Sports (with overhead movement sports being most at risk. For example: racquet sports, swimming, basketball, baseball, volleyball, and the like).
- Degeneration that comes with aging
How can you help to prevent rotator cuff injuries?
- Proper exercises (ask your physiotherapist about which exercises would work best for you).
- Always warm up and do adequate stretching before and after exercising or participating in sports – focus on shoulder and arm stretches
- Strengthen it with low resistance / high repetition exercises, keeping movement slow and controlled
- Rest shoulders before working out to ease some stress in the rotator cuff
- Go for regular massages with a Registered Massage Therapist
- Use hot and cold compresses to help reduce inflammation