Each of your shoulders is able to support the weight of your arms and power your arms for a wide range of activities thanks to the rotator cuffs. Each rotator cuff is a group of muscles, tendons and ligaments around the bones of the shoulder joint. These muscles, tendons and ligaments must all work together to help keep the joint intact and to power it for activities involving the use of your arm.
When the rotator cuff is injured, it can limit the use of your entire arm. There are many injuries and conditions that can affect your shoulders, but one of the most common is a rotator cuff tear.
What is a rotator cuff tear?
Overexertion from physical activity or an injury to the shoulder can cause one of the muscles in the rotator cuff to tear. When this happens, you will feel pain and have a limited range of motion in the shoulder.
There are two categories of rotator cuff tears: total and partial.
In a total tear, the muscle completely tears or might be connected by only a small bit. In these circumstances, surgery is almost always required for repair. Physical therapy before and after the surgery can help manage the pain and improve the outcome of your surgery.
In a partial tear, less than half of the muscle is torn. In these circumstances, surgery may be recommended. However, in many cases, you can recover with physical therapy alone.
Treating a partial rotator cuff tear with physical therapy
Physical therapists specialize in a wide range of techniques for treating partial rotator cuff tears. The goal is usually to improve the strength and flexibility of the surrounding muscles, tendons and ligaments, so your injured one has more space and support to heal.
Physical therapy treatments vary from person to person depending on their needs, but generally, you can expect treatment for a partial rotator cuff tear to include:
- Gentle exercises for increasing strength.
- Gentle stretches for improving flexibility.
- Soft tissue mobilization for breaking down scar tissue.
- Posture guidance for reducing strain on the shoulder caused by poor posture.
- Patient education for how to perform daily activities with the challenges presented by your injury.
Visit Armor Physical Therapy for partial rotator cuff tear treatment
Do you have a partial rotator cuff tear that is limiting the use of your shoulder and arm? Even if you are not sure if your injury is a tear, our physical therapists can help. We can examine your condition to identify the source of your pain and develop a personalized treatment to help you recover. Contact our team today for more information about partial rotator cuff tears or to schedule an initial appointment.