The rotator cuff (rotor cuff) is an anatomical term given to the group of muscles and their tendons that act to stabilize the shoulder. Along with the teres major and the deltoid, the four muscles of the rotator cuff make up the six scapulohumeral (those that connect to the humerus and scapula) muscles of the human body.
These muscles arise from the scapula and connect to the head of the humerus forming a cuff at the shoulder joint. They are important because they hold the head of the humerus in the small and shallow glenoid fossa of the scapula. The glenohumeral joint is often likened to a golf ball sitting on a golf tee. During elevation of the arm, the rotator cuff compresses the glenohumeral joint in order to allow the large deltoid muscle to further elevate the arm. In other words, without the rotator cuff, the humeral head would ride up partially out of the glenoid fossa, lessening the efficiency of the deltoid muscle.
|Muscle||Origin on scapula||Attachment on humerus||Function||Innervation|
|Supraspinatus muscle||supraspinous fossa||greater tubercle||abducts the arm||Suprascapular nerve (C5)|
|Infraspinatus muscle||infraspinous fossa||greater tubercle||laterally rotates the arm||Suprascapular nerve (C5-C6)|
|Teres minor muscle||lateral border||greater tubercle||laterally rotates the arm||Axillary nerve (C5)|
|Subscapularis muscle||subscapular fossa||lesser tubercle||medially rotates the humerus||Subscapular nerve (C5-C6)|
The mnemonic "SITS," sometimes written "SItS" as an additional hint that the teres minor is a member, is often used to remember the four muscles of the rotator cuff.
Cold compression therapy is very useful for all muscle tears and strains as it reduces pain and swelling. Using a cold compression therapy wrap for 15 minutes before sleeping can aid in reducing the pain which causes a restless nights sleep.
|The most effective is the side-lying external rotation, which activates the supraspinatus, subscapularis, infraspinatus and teres minor. The side-lying external rotation involves the person selecting a dumbbell of low weight initially when first training - no more than 3 kilograms. The lifter lies on a bench sideways, with the arm next to his side and slightly flexed at the elbow. The dumbbell should then be raised towards the ceiling to a 45 degree angle, with the arm still flexed and close to the body, at a pace of two seconds up and four seconds down. The side-lying abduction does not involve the teres minor, but moderately involve the deltoid muscles, making it an excellent all-round shoulder exercise.|
|Another exercise is the propped external rotator, which targets the infraspinatus and teres minor. The lifter should sit perpendicular to the barbell, with his arm flexed at 90 degrees at the elbow and the forearm resting parallel on the barbell. Again, selecting a dumbbell of modest weight if just beginning, raise the dumbbell up until the forearm points up. Slowly lower the dumbbell and repeat, exercising both arms.|
|The final exercise is the lateral raise with internal rotation (LRIR). Grasping a dumbbell in each hand, the lifter should internally rotate his arm so that his extended thumbs point towards the floor - as if the lifter is emptying a drink into a bin. The lifter should then raise his arms sideways, with the thumbs still pointing downwards, until the dumbbells are just below the shoulders. The LRIR primarily targets the supraspinatus.|
Strengthening the rotator cuff allows for increased loads in a variety of exercises. When weightlifters are unable to increase the weight they can lift on a pushing exercise (such as the bench press or military press) for an extended period of time, strengthening the rotator cuff can often allow them to begin making gains again. It also prevents future injuries to the glenohumeral joint, balancing the often-dominant internal rotators with stronger external rotators. Finally, exercising the rotator cuff can lead to improved posture, as without exercise to the external rotator, the internal rotators can see a shortening, leading to tightness. This often manifests itself as rounded shoulders in the population.
Rotator cuff tears are not exclusive to athletes: knowing the warning signs and seeking a prompt evaluation of these shoulder injuries are keys to a better outcome.(Bones and joints)
Oct 01, 2009; When you think of rotator cuff tears, you probably think of baseball pitchers. Indeed, athletes garner most of the attention when...