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How to Prevent Rotator Cuff Injuries

woman shoulder pain rotator cuff

Your rotator cuff consists of four tendons and muscles that keep your upper-arm in your shoulder socket, and it helps you raise and rotate your arm.

What is the Anatomy of a Rotator Cuff?

Each of these four muscles in your rotator cuff plays a key role in its functioning:

  • Supraspinatus: holds the upper-arm bone in place, keeps the upper arms stable, helps to lift the arm.
  • Infraspinatus: the main muscle that permits rotation and extension of the shoulder.
  • Teres Minor: smallest rotator cuff muscle that assists with arm rotation away from the body.
  • Subscapularis: holds your upper arm bone to the shoulder blade, helps rotate the arm, helps hold the arm straight out and lower it.

What Are Common Rotator Cuff Injuries?

Rotator cuff injuries happen frequently to people who regularly perform overhead motions with their arms during work or sports activities. Also, as a person ages, the risk of rotator cuff injury increases.

Many who experience rotator cuff issues recover through physical therapy sessions designed to increase the strength and flexibility of the muscles that surround the shoulder joint.

What Are Some Exercises That Can Help Prevent Rotator Cuff Injuries?

Daily shoulder stretches and strengthening exercises can help prevent future rotator cuff injuries. Speak to your doctor before you begin any exercise regimen, especially if you've injured your rotator cuff in the past.

Strengthening exercises: Perform exercises that build up the front muscles of the upper arm, shoulder, and chest. Also, be sure to do strengthening exercises for the muscles in the back of the shoulder and shoulder blade to increase the muscle balance of the shoulder.

Rotator cuff exercises: Pressing your arm against a wall will help strengthen the rotator cuff muscles. Here's how:

Repeat each exercise 10 times for five sets.

Arm Press:

  • Keep your elbow at a 90-degree angle.
  • Place the palm of your hand on a wall that is in front of you.
  • Place a folded towel between your side and your upper arm.
  • Hold the towel there as you push your palm against the wall for a few seconds.

Towel Hold:

  • Place a folded towel between your side and upper arm.
  • Stand next to a wall.
  • With your elbow at a 90-degree angle, gently push your elbow and forearm against the wall for a few seconds.

Does a Shoulder Brace Help Rotator Cuff Injuries?

A shoulder brace can temporarily protect the shoulder and allow a partial tear to heal. A less severe, partial tear can also be treated with:

  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Physical therapy

If your rotator cuff tear is severe or doesn't heal using conservative measures, then you may need a minimally invasive procedure called arthroscopic rotator cuff repair surgery.

When Do You Go to the Hospital for Rotator Cuff Injury?

Rotator cuff tears can happen from a single injury. Immediate medical care is then required as soon as possible. If a rotator cuff tear is extensive, joint replacement, surgical repair, or the transfer of alternative tendons may be necessary.

If you suspect a rotator cuff tear, make an appointment today at Specialty Orthopaedics of Harrison, NY. Our practice offers the most innovative and conservative treatments for a variety of issues, including rotator cuff injuries.

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