Older Woman Doing Stretches | Treasure Valley Hospital

How to Prevent a Rotator Cuff Tear

According to Medline Plus, "Your rotator cuff is located in your shoulder area. It is made of muscles and tendons. It helps your shoulder to move and stay stable. Problems with the rotator cuff are common. They include tendinitis, bursitis, and injuries such as tears." No one wants those problems! Muscle injuries are not only painful, but they take a long time to heal. Treatment can include rest, heat or cold application to the sore area, medicines to reduce pain and swelling, electrical stimulation of the muscles and nerves, ultrasound, cortisone injection, or the last resort, surgery. To prevent tears of your rotator cuff, and to avoid the pain and hassle of healing an injury, you must do the proper exercises.

Warming up the muscles is of utmost importance. If you know you are going to use a muscle, you should get it loose and ready before beginning. This includes stretching and conditioning. To strengthen the rotator cuff for heavier effort, it is recommended to use lower resistance weights with higher repetitions. This allows you to gradually strengthen the muscles without straining them into an injury. The strengthening exercises should be balanced to make sure the result is a balanced strength across your shoulders.

Options for varied exercises that should be included to assist in preventing injury are side arm raises, external rotation, and "hug a tree" stretches. (Example of "hug a tree") Another way to prevent injury is to rest your shoulders before working out. Massages, along with cold and hot compresses, may also help reduce inflammation.

Healthy tips for avoiding injury include not lifting heavy things and having a good posture. These are fairly easy steps anyone can take in order to prevent injury. This is where building strength over time will come in handy because you will, in theory, be able to eventually lift those heavy objects if you are building strength slowly over time.

It is important to remember you, and everyone else, are not superhuman. Preparing for a workout is common sense, not weakness. If you are able to prevent injuries, you will be able to steadily build muscle and strength instead of sitting on the sidelines while your muscles slowly heal. Here's to your health!