• Rotator cuff tear ashburtonRotator cuff tears are very common due the physical nature of a lot of jobs and the large range of motion of the shoulder. The good thing is though is that if you have a rotator cuff tear, even a large one, effective physio rehab means surgery isn’t needed.

    What is a rotator cuff?

    The rotator cuff is a group of muscles that sit around your shoulder joint. These muscles provide stability and perform movements of your shoulder:

    • Subscapularis is at the front of the shoulder blade
    • Infraspinatus and Teres minor are at the back of the shoulder blade
    • And your Supraspinatus is at the top of the shoulder blade

    Rotator cuff tears

    This is when there is a tear in one or more parts of the rotator cuff. It may be a partial tear or can include the full thickness or width of the muscle/tendon.

    How common are tears?

    • 25% in those over 50 years old
    • 20% in those over 20 years old
    • However, of these, 2/3 are asymptomatic (pain-free and no loss of strength)

    Physiotherapy treatment of rotator cuff tears

    • Many studies have been done into the effectiveness of conservative physiotherapy treatment vs surgical intervention for rotator cuff tears, with results showing that conservative treatment can be successful in up to 80% of cases!
    • When you go to physiotherapy for a rotator cuff tear, consultation sessions will begin with a physical exam of your shoulder. This is done to assess your range of movement, strength, pain level, and to identify which muscle is most likely involved
    • Conservative physiotherapy treatment combines physiotherapy interventions, such as soft tissue work, passive movements with a home exercise program including range of movement and strengthening exercises
    • Treatment aims
      • Full active and passive range of movement
      • Full strength
      • Pain free
      • Increased functionality of shoulder (ability to complete every day activities without difficulty)

    If you have injured your shoulder, or have been told you have a rotator cuff tear, pop into PhysioSteps today to be assessed by one of our physios. Together we can develop a treatment plan, find the right exercises and hopefully, help you avoid surgery!