I bet you are wondering what this rotator cuff (or “rotor cup” as it is commonly mispronounced) is all about. A simple explanation is that the Rotator Cuff is a group of four different muscles that are essential to the function of your shoulder. The shoulder is a ball and socket joint which allows movement in many directions. The Rotator Cuff muscles control the quality of joint movement at the shoulder, especially in overhead ranges. Injuries in this area can result from traumatic injury (from a fall or impact) or from general wear and tear (from years of weakness and poor posture). Injuries can vary between mild strains to full tears of one or more of the tendons. Each muscle is attached to bone by a tendon. In most cases, after a full tear you will need rotator cuff repair surgery from an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in shoulder surgery.
Physical therapy can rehabilitate a rotator cuff injury, whether it be a non-surgical injury or following surgery. Physical therapy will help guide your rehabilitation to get you back to the activities you love.
Written by Kailey Ryan, DPT, Physical Therapist at Missoula Bone & Joint.