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Getting Active Again After a Rotator Cuff Tear

Tore your rotator cuff? You may be in a lot of shoulder pain that keeps you up at night. A rotator cuff injury often includes limited shoulder mobility along with the pain. These are common injuries, and properly rehabilitating the muscles is essential to regain mobility and strength. Here’s what you need to know. 

Understanding the rotator cuff tear 

The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and their connecting tendons that support your shoulder joint and provide mobility.

Your shoulders are two of the most versatile joints in your body. You can rotate them forward and backward and reach up and down and from side to side. That versatility is thanks to the rotator cuff. Yet, this versatility also puts the tissues at risk for injury.  People with repetitive shoulder motions, like tennis players or painters, often experience rotator cuff tears. Growing older also puts your rotator cuff at greater risk, thanks to general wear-and-tear.

At Peninsula Orthopedic Associates in Daly City and Menlo Park, California, our expert team evaluates your rotator cuff injury and makes customized recommendations for getting active again. 

Understanding rotator cuff rehab 

Our medical team assesses your rotator cuff injury and healing process via imaging tools like an MRI, X-ray, or ultrasound.  In some cases, we may recommend conservative treatments such as rest, ice, NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), physical therapy, and maybe corticosteroid shots. 

In physical therapy, a trained professional guides you through exercises to restore mobility and flexibility. These include gentle stretching at first and shoulder-strengthening exercises later on to avoid re-injuring yourself. 

Prevent Re-Injury 

Anytime you recover from an injury, you want to take special care not to re-injure yourself, because it’s easy to do if you’re not careful. Here are five steps to get you going.

  1. Complete physical therapy
  2. Use proper form in your daily life
  3. Modify your activities as needed
  4. Incorporate stretching and overall strength toning into your daily routine
  5. Follow up with our medical team

In some cases, it can take six months to a year to recover from a rotator cuff injury and return to an active lifestyle. If you feel pain or experience swelling in your shoulder area during your recovery process, back off and see our medical team. 

What causes rotator cuff tears?

The most common reason for rotator cuff tears is wear-and-tear. That’s why rotator cuff tears are more common in people over 40.  Specifically, they can tear because of: 

Between aging and repetitive motions, it’s easy to tear a rotator cuff. You can protect yours by strengthening your shoulders and aiming for different types of shoulder exercises to keep the joints healthy.

Have patience with your rotator cuff recovery, work with the expert team at Peninsula Orthopedic Associates, and return to your activities safely. You can make an appointment online at one of our locations, or call us here.

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