Rotator Cuff Therapy Exercises

Rotator Cuff Damage

Rotator cuff damage has many different forms, causes and symptoms. It incorporates everything from a slight rotator cuff strain to a massive tear of one or more tendons.

For this reason it is very difficult and potentially dangerous to generalise when talking about rotator cuff injuries.

The rotator cuff is effectively the glue that holds the shoulder together.

It is also responsible for initiating almost all arm movement.

The shoulder is, quite simply, the most complex joint in the human body. Do you see why it is important to be careful, detailed and specific?

Not all rotator cuff damage is bad for you!

Just to make things worse not all damage is bad! That’s correct; some minor damage is actually good for you. OK, this is on a molecular level but that makes it no less true.

How can damage to the rotator cuff be good for you? In reality, it is not the damage that is good for you, it is the subsequent healing.

In very simple terms when you exercise a tendon it can cause microscopic injuries, like tiny tears. As these tears heal they encourage the formation of new tendon tissue.

With correct use of exercises for rotator cuff injury treatment and good stretching the new tendon tissue is almost trained to form correctly. The new tendon tissue is laid down in a structured and organised way. This can greatly improve the strength and elasticity of the tendon.

Rotator Cuff DamageThe image above shows how the cells in a healthy muscle and tendon are organised in a parallel manner.

This is a process that goes on at all times throughout our lives and most people are blissfully unaware of it.

That is how it should be, but it can go wrong. A significant proportion of overuse or tendonitis type conditions can be brought on by the same process.



Overuse injuries and exercise

A number of the overuse injuries can have an onset attributed to the same basic process. A series of microscopic tears can form through normal day to day activities.

The activities are repeated so often that the tears are not given sufficient time to heal. New tears develop on top of the old ones . . .

This becomes a gradual cycle of decline. Scar tissue can form; the tendon becomes painful and possibly swollen and because of this shoulder is used less. Any new tendon is not encouraged to be laid down correctly.

This weakens the tendon and ultimately the shoulder. It is common for this process to lead to more major problems developing.

This is one of the main reasons why you should avoid exercising the same muscle groups everyday. Every two or three days is perfect as this will allow time for any microscopic tears to heal. Then when you next exercise and stretch; the new fibres will be encouraged to form correctly.

The benefits of exercise

The most important point to remember is that exercise works. No matter what rotator cuff damage you have managed to inflict upon yourself, exercise will play a huge role in your recovery. Exercise is

  1. cheap
  2. healthy
  3. accessible
  4. you are capable of doing it.


For the reasons explained above, exercises for rotator cuff injury, will almost always be the first treatment option. They are often a way to avoid a huge rotator cuff surgery cost.

Damage to the rotator cuff takes many forms, anything from a small rotator cuff strain to a large tear. Similarly, the torn rotator cuff symptoms that one person may suffer will not necessarily be the same symptoms experienced by someone else. Everyone is unique.

Despite being unique, however, you must agree that we are all the same! Your basic anatomy and physiology is the same as mine. We are all flesh and blood.

Exercise as a treatment option works for many, many people. It will work for you too!


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