Rotator Cuff Therapy Exercises

Rotator Cuff Tendonitis Exercises

Rotator cuff tendonitis exercises are the key to successful rotator cuff tendonitis treatment. Rotator cuff tendonitis is the most common rotator cuff injury.

Almost all of us at some point in our lives will suffer a shoulder injury and shoulder pain. There is a good chance it will be tendon related.

I want to explain a little about rotator cuff tendinopathy. I want to guide you through the basics of current medical thinking.

This will help you to understand how and why rotator cuff tendonitis exercises are so important.

Finally I will show you a series of rotator cuff tendonitis exercises. These are simple straightforward exercises you can do to relieve your rotator cuff tendonitis pain. Exercises that can be done in and around the home with little or no equipment required.

Exploding the myths?

The historically accepted view was that rotator cuff tendonitis is caused by irritation and inflammation of the rotator cuff tendons. That assumption has been challenged by a body of fresh evidence.

There are now a number of new theories being investigated. For example the role played by collagen in rotator cuff tendonitis is being studied and is felt to be more relevant.

Collagen makes up 70 - 80% of a tendon fibre. A single collagen molecule can take 100 days to fully mature. Therefore the treatment of tendon injuries is a slow process.

A muscle can be altered within days but a tendon requires prolonged stimuli to alter its characteristics. Often by the time treatment is sought the degeneration is advanced and rehabilitation will take even longer.

normal tendon tissue

Normal tendon tissue

tendonitis affected tissue

Rotator cuff tendonitis affected tendon tissue.

As you can see normal tendon tissue is arranged fairly neatly in parallel patterns. A tendon affected by rotator cuff tendonitis has no discernable pattern. The tendon becomes weaker as a result.

The aim of rotator cuff tendonitis exercises is to stimulate the tendons to produce collagen in a way that will enhance tendon strength.

Please remember this is a long slow process. You may feel little benefit for a long period of time, Please, do not lose heart and give up.

Rotator cuff tendonitis exercises will gradually be guiding the arrangement of new cells. This will all be taking place deep in the tendon, it will be unseen but, it will be happening.

Rotator cuff tendonitis exercises

Prone external rotation

Lie on side with arm resting on stomach and a small rolled up towel under the arm. Slowly rotate arm upwards and stop when forearm is in a position just above horizontal.

prone external rotation

Prone internal rotation

As above but hold the dumbbell in the arm that is being rested upon (the left hand above). Tuck the left elbow in to the side. Raise the dumbbell up towards the stomach.

Prone Horizontal Abduction

Lie on your stomach with your arm hanging over side of table or similar and the thumb facing forward. Slowly raise arm straight out to the side and stop when arm is parallel to the body (going higher can cause excessive strain to the front of the shoulder).

prone horizontal abduction

prone horizontal abduction

Prone Elevation in the plane of the Scapula

Begin in the same position as in the exercise above, except rotate your hand so the thumb is rotated 45� out to the side. Slowly raise arm in a plane 45� forward and stop arm just below parallel to the body (going any higher can cause impingement of the rotator cuff).

prone elevation

Prone Row with External Rotation

Begin in the same position as above but rotate your hand so that the thumb is facing towards the body. Perform a rowing motion with the elbow in the same plane as the shoulder, and stop when the elbow is even with the shoulder.

After achieving this position, rotate the arm upwards until the forearm is just below parallel with the body. Next, rotate the forearm back down to the previous position, and then lower the arm back down to the starting position.

prone row with external rotation

prone row with external rotation

prone row with external rotation

External rotation with resistance band

Stand while holding the tubing across your abdomen, with a rolled towel between your arm and body. Slowly rotate arm out to side until hand is pointing straight forward, and hold for 3 seconds. Slowly return to start position. It is important that the elbow is kept at a 90� angle throughout the motion.

external rotation with resistance band

external rotation with resistance band

Horizontal Abduction with resistance band

Stand facing toward the attachment site of the tubing, with the arm extended straight out in front of you.

Slowly pull arm backwards and out to the side, keeping the arm at shoulder height. As you perform this motion, try to pinch the shoulder blade backwards/inwards.

horizontal abduction with resistance band

horizontal abduction with resistance band

Rows with resistance band

Hold the ends of the tubing in each hand. Perform a rowing motion backwards keeping elbows elevated at least 60� away from body. When the elbows are approximately � of the way to the body, complete the motion by pinching the shoulder blades together.

rows with resistance band

rows with resistance band

Standing Elevation in the plane of the Scapula

Stand with dumbbells in your hands, with hands rotated 45� out to the side. Slowly raise arms at 45� angle approximately � of way above head.

standing elevation in plane of scapular

standing elevation in plane of scapular

As you can clearly see there are a great number of rotator cuff tendonitis exercises. Each of these can be done with or without weights or the use of resistance bands.

Please do not overdo the weight it defeats the object of the exercise. Always observe these few simple rules
  • . Exercise within your limits
  • . Stay relaxed
  • . Maintain good posture
  • . Breathe easily
  • . Stop on pain

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