Rotator Cuff Exercises for Healthy Shoulders

Your rotator cuff is actually made up a group of tendons and four muscles. The muscles combine to form a sleeve like band, or “cuff” which goes over the shoulder, connecting your upper arm to your shoulder blade. Your rotator cuff provides stability, allowing the muscles of the shoulder to rotate freely so you can move and raise your arm. These muscles also hold the head of your arm upper bone, called the humerus, security in the socket of your shoulder joint.

Rotator cuff tears are actually quite common, often caused by sports or workplace incidents. They can, however, make even simple daily tasks such as washing your face or putting on a coat painful and difficult to perform. Additionally, rotator cuff injuries may require surgical repair to reattach the tendon to the “head” of the humerus or upper arm bone. The treatment your physician recommends will often depend upon the severity of the tear.

Exercise for Strengthening the Rotator Cuff

As with any exercise or rehabilitative activities, make sure to ask your doctor what exercises are right for you. These movements and exercises should not be painful, so make sure to stop and contact a medical provider if you encounter pain or discomfort. First, warm up by stretching your shoulders for five to ten minutes.

Then, bending from the waist, allow your arms to hang loose. Slowly and carefully, allow your arms to swing back and forth like the pendulum on an old style clock. Next, lift each arm separately, bringing it up to shoulder level on each side. This motion should resemble a bird, stretching out a wing to its side. Repeat the movement on each side until your arms become tired. As you progress in later weeks, you can incrementally add a small weight, starting with just a few ounces. Be careful not to push your body too hard, as it can easily aggravate any existing injury.

The next exercise begins by lying on your good side while on a bed or other flat surface. Your injured shoulder should be facing up. Allow your upper arm to rest with your elbow bent on your side. Then, while keeping your arm bent, reach down and touch the floor, bench or bed moving just your forearm as if you are opening and closing a hatch in front of your abdomen. Raise and lower your arm. If you feel comfortable, you can add a small weight starting with two to three ounces and working your way up over the course of time. Continue doing this until your arm becomes tired. If safe to do so, and it does not cause pain to your injured shoulder, you can repeat the movement on the other side.

If you would like to know more about helpful exercises to heal a torn rotator cuff, or need diagnostic, surgical or rehabilitative services, call Tarpon Orthopedics today at 9725961059. Our caring, highly skilled surgeons can give you the comprehensive treatment you need to get back on track for a healthier, more active life. You can also click here to request an online appointment today.

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