Saturday , March 6 2021

Rotator Cuff Injuries: How Physical Therapy Can Help

Here in Florida, we have gorgeous weather throughout the entire year, which allows for more activities like jogging, tennis, pickleball, kayaking, pushing grandchildren on the swing, and the list goes on and on; but with all of this healthy activity, many individuals are more prone to injury and wear and tear. One of the most common injury sites is the shoulder. The shoulder is a combination of bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, and muscles that provide an extensive range of motion in common everyday tasks, as well as in advanced athletic performance.

Whether you’re using a walker, picking up a heavy grocery bag, or driving the ball 200 yards, an optimal range of motion is key to healthy living. However, many times shoulder pain is due to advanced arthritis or degenerative joint disease. In advanced cases, surgery may be inevitable, Shoulder replacement surgery is also known as shoulder arthroplasty.

Most tears of the rotator cuff occur slowly over time as the tissue wears out, and they commonly occur in those 50 years and older. Any force strong enough to tear tendons also damages and weakens the surrounding ligaments. Shoulder pain is multifactorial, and rotator cuff tears may result in instability, frozen shoulder, and severe discomfort. Many rotator cuff tears can be treated nonoperatively. However, painful tears and tears that interfere with shoulder function may be treated with surgical repair. Rotator cuff tears are very common in the elderly population. Studies show that 30% of those under the age of 70 and 70% of those over age 80 have a rotator cuff tear.1

Imaging such as an MRI is necessary to accurately diagnose the condition, and an evaluation of the overall shoulder stability is essential if the individual wants to return to their normal activities. Once this is determined, the best option for that specific patient is planned out, including rehabilitation and physical therapy.

Physical/Occupational Therapy for Rotator Cuff Tears or Post-Surgery
To relieve inflammation, pain, and to restore joint function and range-of-motion, physical therapy, along with medications, and ice applications are highly effective in many cases. Physical therapists/Occupational therapists are trained to strengthen and target the smaller muscles around the shoulder. This helps to support the larger muscles, tendons, ligaments, and any additional damage to the shoulder.

PT/OT for Shoulder Injuries or post-surgery include:
• Isometric Exercises
• Shoulder Pulleys
• Stabilization
• Resistance Bands
• Active Assistance Motion
• Hand Therapist Care

Physical or Occupational Therapist and Hand Therapy
Seeing a physical therapist can alleviate the symptoms and heal the muscles of the shoulder through specific exercises and soft tissue mobilization. Physical therapy is normally prescribed after surgical repair to speed up the recovery process and to allow the shoulder to heal and function optimally. Along with Physical/Occupational therapy, Certified Hand Therapist’s are trained to help you regain strength and fine motor movement in the hand and fingers, as these are often affected from shoulder injuries.

Physical/Occupational therapy is used to help with numerous indications and conditions like retraining the body to improve gait and balance and also after hip, knee or shoulder replacement and so much more. There is no better way to alleviate pain, increase range-of-motion and live a more mobile higher quality of life than through physical therapy.

Innovative Therapies Group offers massage, physical, occupational and speech therapy. They embrace alternative and eastern medicine philosophies and will help you explore new inventive ways to combat your pain or disorders.

During this period where we are all managing our physical distancing for the COVID-19 Stay at home order, please know that our PT, OT and ST are available for Telehealth visits.

Innovative Therapies Group, Inc.
352-433-0091 |

1. Geary MB, Elfar JC. Rotator cuff tears in the elderly patients. Geriatr Orthop Surg Rehabil. 2015;6(3):220-4. doi:10.1177/2151458515583895

To schedule your appointment with our
Certified Hand Therapist’s, please contact
Innovative Therapies Group.

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