Rotator Cuff Injury

Shoulder Pain Glen Iris

The shoulder complex really is a remarkable joint! It is HIGHLY mobile,  but this brings with it problems!  To achieve this amount of movement, it is very unstable. To compensate for this instability it has a large number of muscles to help stabilize the joint. Is it ironic that the muscles that help stabilize it, the rotator cuff, can become the biggest problem for it? This high degree of instability makes the shoulder prone to pain and rotator cuff injury.

One of the key components parts of good shoulder health and stability is the ROTATOR CUFF:

Rotator Cuff Injuries


The Rotator cuff is a group of 4 muscles:

  • Supraspinatus
  • Infraspinatus
  • Teres Minor
  • SubScapularis


Individually these muscles all have a role to play in moving the arm. But when they work together they are extremely important in stabilisation of the shoulder. Simply put, they keep the ball ( our Humerus or upper arm bone) in the centre of the socket. Problems can arise when these muscles stop working together or become injured, torn or degenerative.

How do Rotator Cuff Injuries occur?

This can occur in 2 ways:

  1. Quickly or suddenly – Traumatic – ie a fall or lifting something far too heavy. – This will result in tearing. A small tear – known as a partial tear. Or a large tear is known as a full-thickness tear of the Rotator Cuff
  2. Gradually Over time – Repeated microtrauma, – occurring over weeks/months.

It is this gradual onset that we typically see. It is here we see the muscles and tendons become inflamed or break down. This is known as degeneration. This degeneration usually occurs as a result of too much too soon. OVERLOAD.

This Overload could be:

shoulder pain

  • A sudden increase in the load the shoulder needs to deal with
  • It could be an increase in the INTENSITY of the load
  • It may be a weakness in the muscle of the Rotator Cuff.

What Are The Symptoms of a Rotator Cuff Injury:

Generally speaking, you may notice that you have:

  • Lost Range of motion
  • Have pain or an ache at the front of your shoulder
  • And a generalized reduction in shoulder function.

You will notice that your shoulder pain and weakness increases, the more severe your rotator cuff injury is.

  • Small or partial tears may only cause some mild irritation. There may be some clicking or weakness with overhead activities, and reaching backward may be uncomfortable
  • Larger tears will be more painful and greater restrictions in movement in all directions. There may be pain at night, and difficulty sleeping due to the pain.

When you have a small rotator cuff injury you can often still raise your arm with or without pain. Moderate tears are usually very painful, and you’ll have difficulty moving your arm. Most patients can’t sleep due to the relentless pain.  When an extensive rotator cuff injury occurs, you may find that you are unable to lift your arm at all.

How Can An Osteopath Help?

The Osteopath’s at Equilibrium Sports and Spinal clinic love treating anyone suffering from shoulder pain.  We are passionate about delivering our clients the highest quality care. And this begins with getting them out of pain fast and effectively. By accurately diagnosing the problem we can provide a crystal clear pathway to recovery. Your Glen Iris Osteopath will guide you through a step by step treatment plan and pathway that ensures you have long-lasting results.  Our focus is centered on strengthening the weakness and empowering our clients to better health and wellbeing. We want to ensure that your goals are reached. This is our primary concern. We want to see you get back to living the life you want -without shoulder pain.

Key Take-Home Messages:

  • The Rotator Cuff is 4 different muscles
  • Rotator Cuff tears are very common as a result of the shoulder joint complex being so unstable.
  • Often it’s caused by “too much too soon” without enough strength or stability in the muscles.
  • Symptoms can range from mild and annoying to severely debilitating
  • Rotator Cuff Injuries respond extremely well to strengthening.
  • Early intervention is always the best.


If you are suffering from ongoing shoulder pain and think you may have a Rotator Cuff Injury,  it’s time to take action. Too often we assume our body aches and pain will improve with time. Sadly this is rarely the case and can often lead to increased healing times.

Get back to doing the things you love -PAIN-FREE , TODAY.

Our clinic proudly services the Glen Iris, Malvern, Toorak, Ashburton, Camberwell, Hawthorn, Kooyong, Chadstone area’s. As usual, if you have any other questions or want some more specific guidance, we are here for you! Just reach out and we’ll get back to you ASAP  [email protected]

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