What Is Rotator Cuff Tendinitis?
Rotator cuff tendonitis, often called shoulder tendonitis, is a common condition affecting the shoulder joint. The rotator cuff is comprised of four muscles that help stabilize the shoulder when it moves. However, there is a particularly poor blood supply to the rotator cuff, making it a fairly common site of injury for patients of all ages. Symptoms can include pain and weakness with lifting, performing overhead or reaching activities, or while sleeping. It is not unusual for a patient with rotator cuff problems to describe a history of several years of constant or intermittent symptoms.
Physical therapy treatment for rotator cuff tendonitis includes a combination of modalities (moist heat, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, and ice) and soft tissue mobilization/massage to aid in the healing process. Treatment will also focus on range of motion and stretching to restore flexibility as well as strengthening exercises to develop the rotator cuff and surrounding muscles. Patients generally begin to see an improvement in their condition within the first month and usually make a full recovery within two to three months. However, if tendonitis is not addressed it can progress to a tear, which can make rehabilitation more challenging and may even necessitate surgical intervention. The good news is rotator cuff surgery followed by rehabilitation performed by a qualified physical therapist usually has a good outcome and allows patients to return to their active lifestyle.