Rotator Cuff Injuries

What is it?

The Rotator cuff muscles are a group of muscles and tendons that support and stabilise the shoulder keeping the bone of the upper arm in the socket. This group of muscles are susceptible to injury and overuse either through sudden trauma or repetitive actions or postures causing wear and tear on the shoulder joint.

There are two main types of injures that can occur; a tear can occur suddenly or overtime in one or more of the tendons or muscles. These can either be partial or full tears. Secondly a tendinopathy can develop. This term covers many different conditions that affect the tendons in the shoulder. Some of the tendons can become trapped between the upper arm bone and the top of your shoulder blade, this can cause inflammation and pain and can, overtime, tear some or all of the tendon fibres.


  • Pain at the top and side of your shoulder, often described as a dull ache when resting but this can become sharp when using the arm in a way that uses the muscles and tendons affected
  • Pain at night if you have slept on that shoulder
  • Trouble brushing hair or reaching behind your back


  • Age is a major factor as the amount of wear and tear increases and healing is slowed
  • Certain sporting activities where repeated overhead movements are required such as throwing sports, swimming and tennis
  • Activities such as painting and carpentry where arm movement, often with the arm outstretched are required
  • Poor posture can lead to the muscles surrounding the shoulder girdle becoming weak and stretched placing extra strain on the rotator cuff muscles
  • Trauma where a sudden fall or impact can damage the area

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