The Rotator Cuff is a group of muscles and their tendons that connecting the humerus (upper arm) to the scapula (the shoulder blade). The four muscles of the rotator cuff are:
- Musculus Supraspinatus – The supraspinatus abducts, or elevates, the shoulder joint.
- Musculus Infraspinatus – The infraspinatus externally rotates the shoulder joint.
- Musculus Subscapularis – The subscapularis muscle works to depress the head of the humerus allowing it to move freely in the glenohumeral joint during elevation of the arm
- Musculus Teres minor – The teres minor muscle externally rotates the shoulder joint.
The four muscles also stabilize the head of the humerus in the glenohumeral joint, or shoulder joint. The muscles, tendons and other tissues form a cuff around the humerus. The Rotator Cuff tendons provide stability to the shoulder, the muscles allow the shoulder to rotate.
Rotator Cuff tendonitis, bursitis (impingment syndrome)
The most common diagnosis is bursitis or tendonitis (impingment syndrome) of the rotator cuff. The pain is usually in the front or outside of the shoulder, in some causes, the pain can descend down the outside of the arm all the way to the elbow.
Rotator Cuff Tears
When the rotator cuff is injured, it’s the tendons of the Rotator Cuff that are injured. The supraspinatus muscle is the one most often injured because of its position between the bones.
Most tears occur in the supraspinatus muscle, but other parts of the rotator cuff may also be involved. There are 2 main causes of Rotator Cuff tears:
- Injury – This type of tear can occur with other shoulder injuries (a broken collarbone or dislocated shoulder)
- Degeneration – Most tears are the result of a wearing down of the tendon that occurs slowly over time
Most Rotator Cuff problems can be treated without surgery, with physical therapy.
The goal of treatment without surgery is to help reduce inflammation, to help relive the pain and is to improve the function of the muscles that surround the shoulder.
Physical therapists examine each individual and develop a plan using treatment techniques to promote the ability to move, reduce pain, restore function, and prevent disability.
When Rotator Cuff surgery is recomended?
- When the symtoms have lasted 6 to 12 monts
- When the tear is large
- When the patient has a significant weakness and loss of function in shoulder