Rotator Cuff Overview

The shoulder is a very mobile and complex joint. Since it is the most mobile joint in our body, it requires strong stabilization to prevent it from getting injured. The Rotator Cuff (RTC) is a group of 4 small muscles that work together to help create some of that stability the shoulder needs. The RTC also assists with moving the arm overhead and lifting objects. When any one of these muscles/tendons become injured, they become inflamed and make it painful to move your shoulder or do daily activities.


Common diagnoses that involve the rotator cuff include:

  • Shoulder impingement
  • Tendonitis/tendinopathy 
  • Rotator cuff tear 

All of these diagnoses can range from being mild or severe. They can be acute (following a traumatic injury) or it can be chronic (a gradual deterioration from overuse or normal aging process). Thankfully all of these injuries can be treated with rehab! Your occupational therapist or physical therapist can help you recover from any RTC injury.


RTC rehab will typically go through different phases but the ultimate goal of therapy is to decrease inflammation and pain & increase motion and strength. After determining your diagnosis and the best course of action for you, we begin treatment.

Treatment may include: 

  • Manual therapy- Soft tissue mobilization, joint mobilizations, passive range of motion, active range of motion plus more
  • Exercise to improve mobility, improve strength, improve coordination, improve power etc
  • Modalities- electrical stimulation, hot packs, ice packs
the four rotator cuff muscles

With the proper guidance, you will slowly begin to have pain relief, gain range of motion/strength and you will be able to get back to overhead activities and live a pain-free life again.

If in the case you do require surgery, for example, after experiencing a large rotator cuff tear, then our experienced therapists are able to rehab you through their proper surgical protocol and get you back to their daily activities. 

Here at Progressive Therapy Centers we ensure to do proper evaluations and determine the best course of treatment based on your specific goals. Whether it’s getting back to doing house chores, lifting, or playing a sport, we make sure to individualize each plan of care and get you back to doing the things you love!

Here is an image illustrating the RTC muscles: supraspinatus, subscapularis, infraspinatus, and teres minor.

Are you ready to start therapy?

A licensed therapist performs your treatment. Schedule your appointment now!