Rotator cuff injuries are painful. Not only that, they also restrict motion in your shoulder and arm. Recovery from a rotator cuff injury mainly involves the RICE method — rest, ice, compression, and elevation. After your rotator cuff improves, it’ll be time to start physical therapy, which will strengthen and condition your shoulder.
To do physical therapy exercises safely and effectively, make sure to consult an orthopedic doctor or physical therapist prior to beginning any routine. They will specify the type of exercises you need and the frequency with which to do them. Exercises should only be done once the shoulder and arm are no longer painful, and your doctor has given you permission to do so.
Here are some examples of exercises you can do at home for a rotator cuff tear.
You need a table or a railing to place your hand on. Slightly lean forward on the table with the hand of your good arm. Let your other arm hang freely on the side of the table. Let the relaxed arm swing backward and forward. Next, move the arm from side to side and in small circles. Repeat the exercise with the other arm. This exercise works several muscle groups — the deltoids, supraspinatus, infraspinatus, and subscapularis.
Crossover Arm Stretch
Stand up straight while keeping your shoulders relaxed. Gently pull the affected arm across your chest, keeping it below chin level. Use the other arm to hold this position. You should feel a gentle stretch in your posterior deltoid. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds, then repeat it with the other arm.
For this exercise, you are going to need a stick. Hold the stick behind your back. Use the hand of the affected side to hold the stick. Hold one end of the stick with the other hand. Pull the stick to one side and feel the stretch in the front of your shoulder. Hold the position for 30 seconds. Repeat the stretch while pulling the stick in the other direction.
This exercise stretches the back of your shoulder. Using the same stick, hold it using one hand while cupping one end of the stick with the other hand. Keep the elbow on the side you are stretching close to your body as you move the stick from left to right. Hold the position for 30 seconds.
While these exercises/stretches may seem easy, they will definitely help your rotator cuff and shoulder. For a comprehensive exercise program, see an orthopedic doctor or physical therapist. Keeping the right form and doing shoulder exercises correctly is very important. Poor form can lead to reinjury.
Orthopedic Doctor in Farmington Hills, MI
Our board-certified physicians at Tri-County Orthopedics are fellowship-trained in sports medicine. This enables them to quickly diagnose and treat injuries, which include a torn rotator cuff. Should you need surgery, our physicians can perform minimally invasive procedures such as arthroscopic rotator cuff repair. Our treatments are comprehensive and include a physical therapy program to restore shoulder function. To make an appointment with a Tri-County Orthopedics provider, call (248) 474-5575 or use our online request form.