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What we’ll cover
  1. What is the rotator cuff?
  2. What is the best treatment for rotator cuff injury?

“My physio said my pain was coming from my rotator cuff”

Rotator cuff related pain is the third most common cause of musculoskeletal pain, accounting for 16% of cases, with back pain at number one (23%) and knee pain number two (19%). Shoulder pain is extremely common and will often be caused by dysfunction in the rotator cuff; a group of muscles acting at the shoulder to simultaneously provide stability and mobility at one of our most unstable joints in the body. Rotator cuff related pain commonly causes the individual difficulty with lifting the arm above shoulder height, reaching behind the back and even lifting more than a cup of tea; it can be incredibly debilitating and impact your ability to complete essential daily activities. In this blog, our physiotherapist Michael Scardamaglia discusses what the rotator cuff actually is and how it acts on our shoulder to allow us to push, pull, lift, throw and balance objects.

What is the rotator cuff?

The shoulder complex is made up of 3 main joints; the glenohumeral joint (ball and socket shoulder joint), the acromioclavicular joint (connecting the top of your shoulder to your collarbone) and the scapulothoracic joint (where the shoulder blade connects to the ribs). The shoulder blade acts as an anchor for the rotator cuff muscles to leverage off; these muscles then attach to different aspects of the humerus (upper arm bone) to create movement at the glenohumeral joint.

The rotator cuff itself consists of 4 main muscles;

  1. Supraspinatus
  2. Infraspinatus
  3. Teres minor
  4. Subscapularis

The first 3 of these muscles help to rotate the arm outwards and lift it up above shoulder height, and the last one (subscapularis) helps to rotate your arm inwards and stabilise the shoulder blade.

Contrary to popular belief, the shoulder muscles almost exclusively work as a single unit rather than 4 separate parts meaning in order to maximise shoulder function we need to work towards improving movement efficiency in a multitude of different movement patterns.

The rotator cuff is especially important as it allows us to, lifting up a cup of coffee, put the flour back on the top shelf, stir the pasta pot and carry the groceries from the car; basically any movement which requires our arms will use our rotator cuff.

What is the best treatment for rotator cuff injury?

As physiotherapists, our aim is to optimise shoulder function and the best way to do that is to get you to exercise the shoulder, lift weights and become really strong! There is no substitute for strength in the rotator cuff, as this allows these muscles to simultaneously stabilise your shoulder whilst allowing for maximal mobility. Exercises such as lateral raises, front raises, chest pressing, rows and overhead pressing are essential for building up shoulder strength and if you experience shoulder pain you can expect to be in the gym lifting weights to help restore your shoulder to all its glory!

If you are experiencing pain associated with your rotator cuff, contact us or book online today.


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Last week our team celebrated another great year. 

Whilst Melbourne’s weather had its own plans, we were still determined to keep with the theme of ‘Italian Summer’. We let our hair down to master the art of mixology 🍸🍹followed by an Italian feast. Friday morning Run Club with the team. Practicing what we preach!

Staying stronger, healthier and happier. This time last week, our team was nervously completing their final preparations for @melbmara . 

Congratulations to our physiotherapists and ME community who ran on the day.

Dilen and Michael completed their first marathons. Abbey and Lizzie smashed out their first half. Last Sunday, our team headed down to see our own Matt Warren win a premiership in the VAFA Premier Men’s Competition. Last week our team dedicated a full day to professional development and team building. At ME Physio we pride ourselves on collaboration to put you at the centre of everything we do. 

Our team covered the latest treatments for back pain, financial well-being and finished off the day with salsa dancing. 

Many thanks to our guests including James Schomburgk from @the2ndvisitphysio , Financial Planners Tony Vikram & Cameron Bishop and the @salsafoundation At ME Physio, our focus is on helping you get stronger so that you can keep doing the things you love.

For Tony and Joan, healthier and stronger is being able to navigate the iconic Coast to Coast Walk in the UK! We recently had the pleasure of hosting Elise Bujor from Women’s & Men’s Health Physiotherapy to discuss women’s health issues across the lifespan. 

Our team pride themselves on staying up to date to ensure you’re able to stay healthier, happier and stronger. Huge milestones over the past few weeks with both Tom and Jude from @delasallefc doing their first bit of running in their rehab. 

Tom is on the return from an ankle dislocation whilst Jude is putting in the hard work following a knee reconstruction. Last week our team enjoyed some friendly rivalry at the footy. 

With finals around the corner, some of our team can now safely make holidays plans for September. We recently had the pleasure of hosting the podiatry team from @sespodiatry. 

Our physiotherapists Michael and Abbey presented on rehabilitation following Achilles surgical repair and ankle surgery. Last weekend some of our team got together to complete the 10 km run @runmelbourne. There was no finish line picture as some were keen to run another 15 km!

Whilst running wasn’t for some - brunch was well received by everyone. Shoulder impingement can be incredibly frustrating and painful. 

Tony has been working closely with our physiotherapists Vernon and Dilen to get on top of his shoulder pain. His treatment plan has included hands-on physiotherapy and individualised exercises in our hydrotherapy and strength programs.

You Deserve to Feel Good.

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