The rotator cuff is responsible for allowing your shoulder to move in multiple directions. The rotator cuff is responsible for internally, externally, and abducting the shoulder on the humerus or major bone that forms the arm. These muscles play a major role in moving the entire complex of the shoulder.
A famous acronym in the medical world is SITS, which stands for the four muscles that make up the rotator cuff: supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis.
Due to the amount of movement capable at this joint in the body, injury does occur sometimes. Sprains and strains occur to the muscles, tendons, and ligaments surrounding the arm. In order for the shoulder to move through normal range of motion, these structures need to stabilize and support the glenohumeral joint.
Rotator Cuff injuries most often occur from repetitive overhead movements in sports, in one’s jobs, or falling on an outstretched arm. Unfortunately, as we age, the risk to injure this muscle group increases. Other culprits that result in rotator cuff injuries are bone spurs, tendonitis, and impingement.
There are many ways you can strengthen your rotator cuff and continue to live healthy lifestyles:
1) Ice and Rest
2) Take NSAIDS – Anti-inflammatory medicine to reduce pain and swelling
3) If in 2-3 days you are still not feeling great, schedule a complimentary injury screen at one of our many Athletico locations. Visit www.athletico.com/locations to find your nearest Athletico.
4) Follow up with a physician for additional testing or to get a script for formal physical therapy.
Some of the exercises that you can do to help strengthen your rotator cuff are:
1) Performing external rotation exercises (Teres Minor/Infraspinatus) – this exercise is performed by moving your arm outward (away from your body). Many start by laying on their side with a small hand weight (I. E. 3 #) and slowly move the arm outward in a controlled motion. Make sure not to strain your muscles with the weight or have your arm leave your side.
2) Performing internal rotation exercises (Subscapularis) – this exercise is moving the shoulder in the opposite direction of the one stated above. Again, start with the lighter weight or cable and advance the weight as you feel comfortable.
3) Scaption Raises – Holding light handheld weights and with your arms stretched out straight at 45 degrees (in between flexion and abduction), raise your arms up to shoulder height. Again start with light handheld weight as tolerated.
*There should be no pain associated with any of these exercises. If you feel pain, please refrain from performing the exercises. Also, please remember to warm up properly and cool down with stretches before working out.
Above all, listen to your body. Remember that you should not push through pain.