After a rotator cuff injury, exercises strengthen the region's muscles and tendons and enhance flexibility, according to MedlinePlus. Exercises also help a person recover some strength and flexibility following surgery on a damaged rotator cuff, states WebMD.
Typical problems with the rotator cuff are a tendon tear, which is caused by overuse or injury, and tendinitis, or inflammation, MedlinePlus explains. Pain, weakness and stiffness are the primary symptoms. Often physical therapists are involved in identifying problems and creating recovery plans. A physical examination provides insight into muscle and tendon capabilities and prescribes exercises to address weak or inflexible areas.
Common strengthening exercises for a torn cuff include doing standing push-ups against the wall and pulling the shoulder blades back, suggests MedlinePlus. Extending the arm overhead against the wall stretches the area, as does reaching the arm up toward the shoulder from behind the back.
If the rotator cuff tear is large, surgery is sometimes needed, MedlinePlus notes. Successful recovery depends, in part, on completing the assigned exercise regimen. Recuperation takes three to six months. Even with the exercises, full strength and range-of-motion are not always achieved. For instance, large tears and injuries to senior citizens do not always mend completely.
After surgery, exercises target muscles in the shoulder, back and upper arms, observes the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Exercise programs typically last from four to six weeks. In addition, post-recovery, performing exercises two to three days weekly helps protect against further injury.