Rotator Cuff Injuries


Because humans do not weight bear through the shoulder the joint has been able to sacrifice stability to evolve a much larger range of movement than the hip joint. This has a potential down side in that having such good flexibility risks instability. The evolutionary response to this risk is the rotator cuff muscle Complex. These four muscles hold the ball into the ball and socket joint during the arc of shoulder movement giving the joint stability whilst in any position.

Cause of injury

Injury can occur from acute tears, when the muscle complex overwhelmed with a sudden load and the muscle tissue fails, or a chronic injury when muscle tissue fails to adapt to a long standing increase in load tendinopathy often due to factors such as poor biomechanics or muscular imbalances.


The most common symptom is pain on the front or side of the shoulder often referring into the biceps area. The pain often is reproduced when bringing the arm out to the side and will often resolve when the arm is above the head (painful arc syndrome). It can be painful to sleep on the affected side. Arm weakness can develop.

Treatment. Treatment will follow the following pathway

•          LOCAL TREATMENT to the shoulder joint





Local treatment will include advice on modifying the activity causing the injury commonly overhead activity or sporting activity and then reducing the inflammation in the sub acromial space. We will give advice on icing the shoulder, taking appropriate anti-inflammatory drugs.

Posture will affect how the shoulder blade is positioned. So advice on posture and treatment of the upper back and neck with massage, articulation and manipulation will improve the resting position of the scapular.

Scapular movement is improved by relaxing and stretching the muscles that attach the scapular to the body, the scapular to the arm and the body to the arm. This improves gliding of the scapular throughout the arc of arm motion. Once the scapular has been freed then we can start the rehabilitation exercises

Muscle sequencing.  After an injury to the shoulder the muscles often stop working together. Some of the larger muscles like the pectoralis major and latissimus dorsi (pecs and Lats) will start firing before the shoulder joint has been stabilised. By relearning the coordination between joint stabilization and the initiation of arm movement through specific exercises you can help the shoulder remain injury free during activity.

Body Patterning. This involves evaluation of how the body functions as a unit. Analysing movement patterns such as the primary movements squatting, lunging, pushing, pulling, pressing and twisting and using these to detect and treat dysfunction. This is a vital stage in the treatment and prevention of injury re-occurrence.    

When the damage to the rotator cuff muscles is too severe to heal the therapist will advise you accordingly and may suggest seeking the advice of our Specialist Orthopaedic Surgeon.

If you have any questions please contact us and our professional team will be able to assist you.

Parking Information

Enter postcode for directions:

Rugby Osteopathic Centre, 69 Albert Street, Rugby
Warwickshire, CV21 2SN, Tel: 01788 560646, Fax:01788 571318
Email: reception@rugbyosteopaths.co.uk

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