Exercises to help treat rotator cuff tears focus on strengthening the muscles and tendons of the joint while increasing flexibility, according to MedlinePlus. Stretches include pendulum exercises and wall stretches, while strengthening exercises include wall push-ups and arm reaches.
Before embarking on an exercise regimen, patients with rotator cuff tears must talk to a doctor or physical therapist who can help them develop a safe program, states MedlinePlus. Often, patients must perform these exercises while a professional watches how the shoulder moves, how the spine looks, checks the shoulder's range of motion, and tests various muscles for weakness or stiffness. The long-term goal of these exercises is to eliminate or reduce shoulder pain entirely while teaching proper movement to avoid reinjuring the rotator cuff.
Rotator cuff tears are prominent among athletes, according to WebMD. Prolonged or sudden stress such as falling on the shoulder or lifting heavy weights can cause the tendons to pull away from the bone or tear. The injury is usually indicated by sudden pain that ranges in severity. The shoulder becomes more difficult to use and may be unable to raise the arm above the head. Movement may result in snapping or crackling noises.
In addition to range-of-motion exercises and physical therapy, the shoulder should be iced two or three times per day, states WebMD.