What Are the Best Exercises for Rotator Cuff Injury?

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  • Written By: C. Daw
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 23 October 2019
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The best exercises for rotator cuff injury involve ones that do not cause an extreme amount of strain upon the injured area, but work the muscles and tendons effectively enough to build them back up to a normal strength level. When beginning an exercise regime, warming up is important in order to loosen the area within the shoulder without causing any more damage. The second step involves using isometric exercises which uses the weight of the arm to slowly build up the muscles and tendons in the damaged shoulder, as well as stretching them to prevent them from locking up. The final stages of exercises that need to be done are light resistance lifting, such as with a rubber band designed for this type of recovery, or very small weights.

The most important step when beginning an exercise regime, especially when an injury is involved, is warming up, and there is no exception for exercises for rotator cuff injury regimes. This can be done in numerous different ways. A heating pad can be applied for fifteen minutes before beginning the exercises to effectively loosen the muscles and tendons. A salve can also be applied before beginning, which works great since the heat slowly absorbs through the skin and into the rotator cuff area.


The second step when doing exercises for rotator cuff injury recovery is to complete a series of isometric movements. Isometrics is a concept that applies the weight of the arm, and using only that as resistance, works the injured area without having the chance of causing more damage. The exercises done during this stage isolate the three specific muscle and tendons within the shoulder which effectively strengthens them.

With the arm held straight out in front of the body, slowly rotate the shoulder inward. Use the hand as a lever and the belt line as the target. Do not bend the elbow or wrist, but rather use the shoulder to rotate the entire arm in the correct direction. Do this slowly, and even though some slight pain will be experienced, stop immediately if sharp shooting pains begin. This is the first of the exercises for rotator cuff injury rehabilitation and is the stepping stone to the road of recovery.

The next isometric movement that needs to be done when doing exercises for rotator cuff injury rehabilitation is the basic arm raise. Once again begin with the arm straight out in front of the body. Rotate the shoulder upward, effectively raising it over the head. Continue this movement until it is pointing straight up, and then slowly begin to lower it down until the arm is pointing towards the floor.

The final non-resistance exercise for rotator cuff injury recovery that needs to be completed is similar to the action performed when skiing. Begin with the arm slightly bent at the elbow and out in front of the body. Slowly swing the arm backward as far as possible, and then bring it forward to the starting position.

After these isometric exercises are completed and can be accomplished with very little discomfort or pain, some resistance needs to be added in. Use a therapy rubber band, or a very small weight, and repeat the exercises as before. This time they will be hardier, and more pain may be experienced because of the added resistance, but in order to reach full recovery the muscles and tendons around the rotator cuff area needs to be strengthened. In order to maximize the effects of exercising for a rotator cuff injury, the weight needs to be slowly increased, as well as the number of repetitions done.


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Post 2

The time to do the rotator cuff exercises mentioned in the article is before you develop rotator cuff injuries. Stretches and strengthening exercises for the joints should be done regularly, more often than weight lifting and other high impact activities.

Once an injury occurs, exercising can be painful. Remember, maintaining health is easier than trying to regain it.

Post 1

Before I was diagnosed with a rotator cuff injury, I was under the impression that only athletes experienced these types of injuries. I have heard about a large number of baseball pitchers needing rotator cuff repair surgery.

Well, I am not an athlete and I think I my rotator cuff symptoms are related to carrying groceries, lifting items around my home and other everyday activities. My rotator cuff pain was bad, and when I moved my shoulder a certain way I could hear a popping sound.

At first, when the pain was at its worst, it hurt when I even thought about moving my shoulder. The doctor told me to use ice and heat combined with rest and

anti-inflammatory drugs. My first exercises were simple stretches and I worked my way into other exercises that required more movement.

So far, I have been able to avoid surgery and I continue to exercise regularly. The pain comes back sometimes, but it is not as bad as before.

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