The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that attach to the bones of the shoulder joint, allowing the shoulder to move and keeping it stable.
The tendons of the rotator cuff pass underneath a bony area on their way to attaching to the top of the arm bone. These tendons join together to form a cuff that surrounds the shoulder joint. This helps keep the joint stable and allows the arm bone to move on the shoulder bone.
Injury to these tendons may result in:
- Rotator cuff tendinitis, which is irritation and swelling of these tendons
- A rotator cuff tear, which occurs when one of the tendons is torn due to overuse or injury
These injuries often lead to pain, weakness, and stiffness when you use your shoulder. A key part in your recovery is doing exercises to make the muscles and tendons in your joint stronger and more flexible.
Your doctor may refer you to a physical therapist to treat your rotator cuff. A physical therapist is trained to help improve your ability to do the activities you want.