What is the Rotator Cuff? How does the Rotator Cuff work?

What is the rotator cuff? How does the rotate cuff work? How does the rotator cuff control shoulder movement? Why did I strain or tear my rotator cuff? Watch for more information! Call us for more details.

Hi this is Dana Ranahan from Body Works sports Physiotherapy and I’m here today to talk to you about the rotator cuff and how it works and how it controls the shoulder. So often in the clinic, we get questions about what is the rotator cuff and how does it work and if I get a tear in my rotator cuff, what does that mean?

Well the rotator cuff is a group of muscles that runs from the shoulder blade and attaches into the humerus or the arm bone and effectively controls movement. So what you’re looking at from the front here is the front of the shoulder blade, so you can see your collar bone or your clavicle here, the shoulder blade or the scapula, this is the front so this is called subscapularis and it comes and attaches onto the front and the ball and socket joint. And if we peel back that muscle, you get a view of the ball and socket joint effectively so when the arm moves you can see the ball moving in the socket.

So on the front surface where the supraspinatus comes in, it controls the front aspect and on the back, we can look at the different muscles that contribute to the rotator cuff. So we have infraspinatus in here that comes in here and attaches on the back and supraspinatus that comes across the top and supraspinatus kind of comes through this little tunnel and attaches on the tip of the shoulder here. So the supraspinatus is a commonly injured one that when we raise our arm, it can get pinched in this little tunnel and can get pressure or rubbing against the acromion.

So effectively, the rotator cuff forms like a “cuff” around the ball and socket joint to help control dynamically when we move our arms so the ball stays centred in the socket. Sometimes we get problems where the shoulder rolls forward or pushes forward in the joint and it can put more pressure on different tendons and this is often how we get strains or tears in tendons.

If you have any other questions, give us a call at Body Works Sports Physiotherapy in North Vancouver, you can check out our website at www.body-works.ca. Bye