Physical Therapy for a Rotator Cuff Tear

Rotator Cuff Tear Physical Therapy



What is a Rotator Cuff Tear?

The rotator cuff is made to keep the ball of the arm in the shoulder socket. When the rotator cuff is torn, it is typically due to overuse or injury. There are two types of tears that people can have when they injure their rotator cuff:

Partial rotator cuff tear

Occurs when the tendon is injured but not completely torn.

Complete rotator cuff tear

Just like it sounds, the tendon is completely torn.



Who is at Risk for Getting a Rotator Cuff Tear?

If you are over the age of 40, you are at a higher risk for getting a rotator cuff tear. Working a job or playing a sport that involves repetitive arm motion can also increase your chances of tearing your rotator cuff.



What are the Symptoms of a Rotator Cuff Tear?

If you think you may have a rotator cuff tear, it is important to seek help from a shoulder specialist who can determine a treatment plan and refer you to a physical therapist (if necessary). Some symptoms of a rotator cuff tear include:



Do I Need Surgery for my Rotator Cuff Tear?

Whether you need surgery for your rotator cuff tear will depend on the severity of your tear and the type of pain you have.

Surgery is not necessary most of the time and pain can often be relieved by rest, medication, injections, and physical therapy.



5 Exercises to Relieve Rotator Cuff Tear Pain

Physical therapy is one of the best ways to relieve pain from your rotator cuff tear. Seek help from one of our highly experienced physical therapists in Nashville or Franklin to relieve your shoulder pain! In the meantime, try these 5 simple exercises:


Pendulum Stretch

Start by standing up and leaning forward. You can rest your hand on a table or chair for support. Slowly swing the affected arm back and forth (like a pendulum). Take 10 swings and repeat once more if you are not in pain.


Doorway Stretch

Stand at a doorway with your arms out, grabbing the frame. Slowly lean forward until you feel a stretch. Hold this pose for 10-20 seconds.


Crossover Arm Stretch

Put your affected arm straight out. Then move it towards the opposite side of your body. Take your other arm and bend your elbow, holding the affected arm. Hold this stretch for 10 seconds.


Sleep Stretch

Lay down on the side of the affected shoulder and bend your arm upward. Press the affected arm down with your other hand until you feel a stretch. Hold for 30 seconds.


Posterior Stretch

Start by holding the elbow of your injured arm. Then gently glide the hand of your injured arm towards your back. When you feel a stretch, hold for 30 seconds.

Marina von Rutenberg Marina is the Marketing Coordinator for Elite Sports Medicine + Orthopedics. She has been writing and reviewing medical content since 2021.

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