What is the rotator cuff?

by ​Lorraine Breau-Thompson, PT

The rotator cuff consists of a group of four muscles that originate from the scapula (shoulder blade) and attach to the front of the shoulder. More specifically, they are the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, subscapularis and teres minor. The function of these muscles is to keep the ball of the humerus (long bone in the upper arm) tight in the socket of the scapula. When they contract, they will assist in either rotating or lifting the arm. In our practice, we commonly see people with a rotator cuff tendinitis for example. This refers to the inflammation of one or more of the rotator cuff tendons, usually caused by a fall, repetitive overhead use or a strain to the shoulder. Unfortunately, many people omit strengthening these muscles during their workouts, leading to a muscle imbalance. If the rotator cuff muscles get weak relative to the other shoulder muscles, the surrounding shoulder musculature can over-power them and change the pivot point at the ball and socket joint, leading to injury. Keeping this in mind will help prevent injuries and allow for better shoulder stability so that the other shoulder muscles can also get stronger.

For further information on how you can help keep the muscles balanced in your shoulders call Empower Physical Rehabilitation at 902-865-8100.

1 Comment

  1. mary marson February 7, 2017 at 1:58 pm

    thank you for the update.


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