Rotator Cuff at MSK Sports Injury Clinic

The Dreaded Rotator Cuff – A Simple Guide To Help Minimise Your Pain

You may have heard the term ‘rotator cuff’ if you’ve had a shoulder injury in the past, but you might not be sure of what it is. The GP may have briefly mentioned it, or a Physiotherapist could have described it to you in the past, but the information hasn’t quite stuck!

Typically, when you injure your shoulder there is a high probability that the rotator cuff will be involved, and this is because it is so integral to the function of your shoulder. It can also be a key reason why your shoulder will develop pain due to the structures that are involved.

If you have a current shoulder injury or you are just keen to remain injury free, our guide to the rotator cuff, as ever, will show you what it is, what it does and how to keep it healthy!

Rotator Cuff Injuries

Common injuries to the rotator cuff include:


  • Impingement – part of the rotator cuff can become pinched between the head of the humerus and top of the scapula. This can cause pain, weakness and reduced movement. Caused by poor posture and lack of shoulder conditioning.
  • Tendonitis – the tendon develops pain due to a change in its state, typically caused by overload of the tissue or it being strained.
  • Bursitis – the fluid filled bursa that helps to cushion the shoulder joint can become compressed and painful. It is similar to impingement in how it is caused.
  • Calcific Tendonitis – calcium deposits develop in the tendon which make the tendon tougher and less elastic and can prevent it from performing properly whilst developing pain. Develops typically between 30-60 years of age, but the cause is not clear.
  • Rotator Cuff Strains & Tears – partial and full thickness tears are the more serious injuries and may require attention from a shoulder specialist. Tears are common in over 60’s and very common in over 70’s. Tears can happen if the tendon is not in good condition and it has too much load exerted through it or an unexpected trauma like a fall.

Rotation with a Dowel Rod Sitting

Rotation with Dowel Supine

External Rotation with Band

Internal Rotation with Band

Ascended 90 Degrees Internal Rotation

Ascended 90 Degrees External Rotation

Band Flexion

Band Flexion 90 Degrees

Resisted Extension

MSK Sports Injury Clinic
Mark Poolan
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