Post Rehab Exercises For Torn Rotator Cuff
These are 3 post rehab exercises for torn rotator cuff injuries. Internal and external rotation will work all four rotator cuff muscles and help reinforce stability and tendon integrity in the shoulder joint.
The pendulum exercise will help create more space between the humerus and acromiovicular joint (subacromial space). With the subacromial space involving structures like the subacromial bursa and rotator cuff tendon, once that space becomes compromised it can cause impingement, bursitis, and wear and tear on the tendon. That is why it is important to create more space between the structures.
Remember, prior to performing these exercises, release the pecs and anterior deltoids. ALSO, use a lacrosse ball or theracane to release any tender or trigger points on the four rotator cuff muscles: infraspinatus, supraspinatus, subscapularis, and teres minor.
6 ways to manage rotator cuff tears.
- Limit further damage
- Manage Pain–using whatever modalites ie: massage, physical therapy
- Avoid Overhead activity
- Strengthen Rotator Cuff
- Strengthen and Stabilize Muscles of the Scapula
- Increase Subacromial Space–Need to check with Dr or Physical Therapist if you had a repair
Also, below are some criteria I suggest following to determine whether or not these exercises are OK to perform. As always you should consult with your Physician prior to exercising.
- Full Shoulder Range of motion
- Minimal Pain <4 out of 10 on pain scale
- No radiating pain
- Fair overhead strength–able to lift your arm up and down
- Medical Clearance
- Discharged from physical therapy
Internal Shoulder Rotation
Both Internal and External shoulder rotation can be done with resistance bands, dumbbells or using a cable. Keep the arm bent with your arm tucked at your side. To make it easier you can stick a rolled up towel between your elbow and torso.
Keep your shoulders relaxed, do not let them creep up towards your ears. Use slow and controlled movements to perform the exercise, do not jerk and force the movement. Controlling the movement will allow you to recruit and activate more muscle fibers. Perform 2-3 sets of 12-15 reps.
External Shoulder Rotation
Make sure you get the OK from your physical therapist or Physician before performing this exercise. As mentioned above, this exercise will help increase the subacromial space. Use a dumbbell or kettle bell and just let your arm hang. Perform small circles clockwise and counterclockwise 20-30 each direction. Keep your shoulder relaxed and do not fight the resistance of the weight.
Remember, these exercises must be done on a regular, consistent basis. Building shoulder strength and stability after injury is not an easy fix, however, you may notice a difference in strength after a week or two of consistent exercise and release techniques. DO NOT continue any of these exercises if you experience pain. Try these!