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Rotator Cuff Self Care

Updated: Oct 14, 2020

The ROTATOR CUFF consists of four muscles all working to hold our shoulder’s in place. These muscles are Infraspinatus(infra=lower), Supraspinatus(Supra=higher), Subscapularis(sub=under the shoulder blade), and Teres Minor (there is a Teres Major but it is a helper to the lats). The main actions are to rotate the humerus, and stabalize the head of the humerus. However the supraspinatus also abducts the shoulder (lifting arm up over head). Injuries are quite common to these muscles and tendons, dislocating shoulder, tearing, separating, etc. Tears are commonly associated with motions that require repeated overhead motions or forceful pulling motions. Sports that are susceptible to have rotator cuff tears are: Baseball, softball, football, tennis, rugby, swimming, volleyball, water polo, kayakers, boxers and weight lifters. Posture is very important, people with the caved in chest, shoulders rotated forward and rounding the upper back will have rotator issues.


With rotators posture is very important, by opening the chest and pulling the shoulders (rotating them) back so that they align with the sides of the body it helps to align the rotators. Stretching the pecs is very helpful to assist in maintaining this posture. Before major activities it is great to stretch the rotators by bringing one arm in front and pulling it across the chest, hold for 30 seconds and do other side. Then stretch the external rotators by placing your arm behind your back, with the other arm pulling the arm gently to the front of the body and holding for 30 seconds.

Self massage is great for these muscles. I find tennis balls work great to get into the infraspinatus or into the tendinous bulk just before the head of the humerus.

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