Rotator Cuff Tear: Can It Be Prevented?

The rotator cuff includes the tendons of four muscles which start at the shoulder blade and attach to the upper arm, by the shoulder. These muscles do the rotation of the shoulder and stabilize the shoulder joint.

How do you get a rotator cuff tear?
It can come from a traumatic injury or can be progressive (shoulder impingement, rotator cuff tendonitis, rotator cuff tendon tear).

How can you prevent shoulder trauma which could cause a rotator cuff tear?
Prevent falls, avoid lifting heavy objects overhead, avoid twisting shoulders when they are overhead, maintain good shoulder strength (including rotator cuff strength), rest days between sports activities, practice good body mechanics with strenuous upper body activities (such as moving heavy objects), sufficient warm-ups and stretches before playing sports.

How can you prevent progressive shoulder problems which could lead to a rotator cuff tear?
Modify activities that continually cause shoulder pain, early treatment/rehab of minor shoulder injuries (especially impingement and tendonitis), regular shoulder and rotator cuff strengthening, good body mechanics during daily activities (with shoulders in safe positions), good posture (which affects the spine, shoulder blade and shoulder positions).

Who is at high risk for a rotator cuff tear?
1. Those who play sports
2. Those who are elderly
3. Those who do heavy labor
4. Those who have a history of chronic shoulder problems
5. Those who do repetitive overhead lifting

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I am a Physical Therapist and Ergonomics Consultant, based out of Columbia, SC. My passion is to write about and speak about pain/injury prevention. I started Pain Talks as a consulting business in 2018.

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