rotator cuff

The rotator cuff itself is made up of 4 main muscles; infraspinatus, supraspinatus, teres minor, subscapularis. 

What is it?

The rotator cuff is a collective group of muscles with the purpose of providing strength and stability within the shoulder.

The rotator cuff itself is made up of 4 main muscles; infraspinatus, supraspinatus, teres minor, subscapularis. These muscles originate from the scapula and insert the humerus forming a ‘cuff’ around the glenohumeral joint.

The muscles in the rotator cuff are each used to help with a variety of different movements (flexion, abduction, external & internal rotation), therefore these muscles are key in maintaining a fully functioning shoulder girdle. Injury to the rotator cuff can occur from both blunt trauma to the area and also quite common with overuse.


Common symptoms of injury to the area include; reduction in range of motion, pain in the shoulder (can be both anterior/posterior and potentially radiating into the top of the arm), weakness in muscles, functional impairments.

In some cases you will find that the pain is directly associated with a combination of certain muscles within the structure overworking and others underworking.

That being said the injuries to the rotator cuff are one of the most common things that can happen to the shoulder; tears, tendinopathy, tendinitis, impingements to name a few. 

Rotator cuff injuries can be simply diagnosed using a variety of different special tests which will target the function of certain muscles within the structure and determine whether a weakness (or pain) is present.

It can also be diagnosed on various scans (x-rays, MRIs, ultrasounds) for the more severe cases.

Now this may sound like a big negative but just as common as these injuries are rotator cuff injuries are also some of the easiest to deal with (depending on the severity). 

In majority of cases people tend to go with a non-surgical conservative approach when it comes to rotator cuff injuries, in most cases a structured 6-10 week (depending on severity) rehabilitation program will fix a rotator cuff injury.

This will usually consist of range of motion work to restore full range in the shoulder followed by some isometric holds and will then be progressed further and further until the shoulder has restored full strength and function.