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Shoulder – Rotator Cuff Tear

The rotator cuff is a group of four small muscles that work as a team to hold the top of the arm in the socket. The socket is quite small so think of it like a golf ball on the tee. As our arm moves in different positions, the rotator cuff function is critical to keeping normal shoulder movement and function. Damage to one of these tendons can cause the rotator cuff group to lose function and the shoulder to lose movement and become stiff and/or painful.

If torn tendons are not correctly managed the fraying increases and tear can thicken as the shoulder becomes more dysfunctional. As the damage progresses, the tendon can completely rupture.

EMG studies have shown that even if the rotator cuff is strong there can be a problem with the synchronising of the four muscles forming the cuff. In this case, the muscles are switching on and off at the wrong time, causing dysfunction and pain.

We will also help improve shoulder posture which is often an underlying cause of the damage to the tendon. Physio is essential to take the tension out of the muscles and return normal function though gentle manual therapy and simple specific exercises. Operation and injection should be treated as a last resort, as results can be quite variable.

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