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Understanding rotator cuff tears

Shoulder pain is common, effecting up to 26% of the general population. It impacts dressing, eating, wiping your bum (and if you’re not very ambidextrous, you gon’ have to learn), and work. The most common cause of symptoms involves the rotator cuff muscles, pictured above, which provide movement and stability to the shoulder joint.

Changes to the rotator cuff muscles/tendons, including tears, commonly affect the old heads, and those who repetitively use their arms for work and sport (surprise). Rotator cuff tears have also been found in people without any pain or symptoms. Recent research has actually found that asymptomatic tears are twice as likely as a symptomatic ones!

This information is rarely shared, so when hearing you’ve got a torn muscle, you’re likely to stop using it, which often leads to more problems. From the second image you can see that the rotator cuff tendons are all connected through a continuous structure around the top of the arm. Injury to one part isn’t ideal, but the cuff can still function well, you may just have to exercise and strengthen the other muscles to make sure of it.

Physiotherapy can help to restore your movement and function, making life that little bit easier!

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