My Cuff

Your resource for getting to know your rotator cuff and moving forward

What is the rotator cuff?

The rotator cuff is a set of muscle tendons in your shoulder that connect the top of your upper arm bone (the humerus) to your chest. Its purpose is to allow your arm to move and rotate while staying in its socket. The four muscle tendons that make up the rotator cuff include the subscapularis, the supraspinatus, the infraspinatus, and the teres minor.

What is a rotator cuff tear?

A rotator cuff tear is when one or more of the muscle tendons that are part of the rotator cuff, separate from the humerus. Most rotator tears are only partial, meaning that the tendon(s) affected only partially tore away from the humerus and are still connected. A full tear is when one or more of the tendons fully separate from the humerus. A rotator cuff tear can be quite painful as it usually results in the arm being very difficult to move, or unable to move at all.

What causes a rotator cuff tear?

Your rotator cuff often plays an important role in your daily life as it is used for almost every activity. This includes everything from playing sports like baseball, basketball, and football, to performing chores around the house like changing a lightbulb, lifting boxes, cleaning the house, etc. Thus, rotator cuff tears can happen to anyone at any time. It is not exclusive just to those who are athletic. Rotator cuff tears usually occur as a result of performing activities that include frequent overhead arm movements, or from doing some heavy lifting, or just from a bad fall.

How to care for your rotator cuff

Most people who experience rotator cuff tears are over the age of 60. However, if you believe you are at risk for tearing your rotator cuff, try some the methods below to help prevent future injury...

1) Perform light shoulder exercises daily
2) Try to always maintain good posture
3) Avoid sleeping on your side at night
4) Avoid overhead arm movements
5) Stretch your shoulders before a workout
6) Occasionally massage your shoulders with hot and cold compresses
7) Make sure that you rest your shoulder occasionally

What should I do if my rotator cuff hurts?

The rotator cuff can be very difficult to heal so it is always best to first talk with your doctor. After doing some testing, your doctor will be able to determine if you injured your rotator cuff and determine the best treatment plan for you. This may include physical therapy or even surgery. While you wait to see your doctor, avoid using your injured arm as much as possible.

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