Rotator cuff

Rotator cuff

Infobox Anatomy
Name = Rotator cuff
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Caption = Muscles on the dorsum of the scapula, and the Triceps brachii.

Caption2 = The scapular and circumflex arteries.
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The rotator cuff (rotor cuff) is an anatomical term given to the group of muscles and their tendons that act to stabilize the shoulder. Along with the teres major and the deltoid, the four muscles of the rotator cuff make up the six scapulohumeral (those that connect to the humerus and scapula) muscles of the human body.


These muscles arise from the scapula and connect to the head of the humerus forming a cuff at the shoulder joint. They are important because they hold the head of the humerus in the small and shallow glenoid fossa of the scapula. The glenohumeral joint is often likened to a golf ball sitting on a golf tee. During elevation of the arm, the rotator cuff compresses the glenohumeral joint in order to allow the large deltoid muscle to further elevate the arm. In other words, without the rotator cuff, the humeral head would ride up partially out of the glenoid fossa, lessening the efficiency of the deltoid muscle.

Muscles composing rotator cuff

The mnemonic "SITS," sometimes written "SItS" as an additional hint that the teres minor is a member, is often used to remember the four muscles of the rotator cuff.


Rotator cuff tear

This group of tendons can become torn, leading to pain and restricted movement of the arm. A torn rotator cuff can occur following a trauma to the shoulder or it can occur through "wear and tear" of the tendons (most commonly that of the supraspinatus) under the acromion. It is an injury frequently sustained by athletes whose duties involve making repetitive throws, such as baseball pitchers, American football quarterbacks, volleyball (due to their swinging motions), swimmers, boxers, kayaking, fast bowlers in cricket, and tennis players (due to their service motion). It is commonly associated with motions that require repeated overhead motions or forceful pulling motions.

Rotator cuff impingement

A systematic review of relevant research found that the accuracy of the physical examination is low.cite journal |author=Hegedus EJ, Goode A, Campbell S, "et al" |title=Physical Examination Tests of the Shoulder: A Systematic Review with Meta-analysis of Individual Tests |journal= |volume= |issue= |pages=80|year=2007 |pmid=17720798 |doi=10.1136/bjsm.2007.038406] The Hawkins-Kennedy test [cite web |url= | Shoulder and Elbow Surgery | title=Hawkins-Kennedy Test|accessdate=2007-09-12 |format= |work= (video)] cite web |url= |title=Chapter 14: Shoulder Pain |accessdate=2007-08-30 |format= |work=|author=Brukner P, Khan K, Kibler WB] has a sensitivity of approximately 80% to 90% for detecting impingement. The infraspinatus and supraspinatus [cite web |url= |title=Empty Can/Full Can Test| Shoulder and Elbow Surgery |accessdate=2007-09-12 |format= |work= (video)] tests have a specificity of 80% to 90%.


Reduce pain and swelling

As with all muscle injuries, R.I.C.E. is the modality recommended by MDs, DOs, Physical Therapists, Athletic Trainers, and Chiropractors.Fact|date=June 2008

* "Rest" means ceasing movement of the affected area.

* "Icing" uses ice to reduce inflammation.

* "Compression" limits the swelling.

* "Elevation" involves placing the area higher to reduce inflammation and swelling.

Cold compression therapy is very useful for all muscle tears and strains as it reduces pain and swelling. Using a cold compression therapy wrap for 15 minutes before sleeping can aid in reducing the pain which causes a restless nights sleep.Fact|date=June 2008


The rotator cuff can be strengthened to rehabilitate shoulder injuries, and prevent future ones. There are different exercises to target the individual rotator cuff muscles.

Strengthening the rotator cuff allows for increased loads in a variety of exercises. When weightlifters are unable to increase the weight they can lift on a pushing exercise (such as the bench press or military press) for an extended period of time, strengthening the rotator cuff can often allow them to begin making gains again. It also prevents future injuries to the glenohumeral joint, balancing the often-dominant internal rotators with stronger external rotators. Finally, exercising the rotator cuff can lead to improved posture, as without exercise to the external rotator, the internal rotators can see a shortening, leading to tightness. This often manifests itself as rounded shoulders in the population.


When the rotator cuff is torn, surgery is usually required to reattach the tendon to the bone. []



External links

* [ Free weight training gets workers with rotator cuff injuries back on the job] Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
* [ Rotator Cuff Exercises]
* [ Shoulder pain, Rotator Cuff, and Surgery]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • rotator cuff — n. a group of muscles, under the deltoid muscle, covering the shoulder joint and connecting the humerus to the scapula: it controls shoulder rotation …   English World dictionary

  • Rotator cuff — A group of four tendons that stabilize the shoulder joint. Each of the four tendons hooks up to a muscle that moves the shoulder in a specific direction. The four muscles whose tendons form the rotator cuff are: The subscapularis muscle, which… …   Medical dictionary

  • rotator cuff — noun A set of four smaller muscles in the shoulder responsible for rotating the humerus (upper arm bone). In my quest for world records, I ruined both my rotator cuffs. The cuff, a group of four relatively small (but important) shoulder muscles… …   Wiktionary

  • rotator cuff — ro′tator cuff n. anat. a bandlike group of muscles encircling and supporting the shoulder joint and controlling shoulder rotation …   From formal English to slang

  • rotator cuff — noun Date: 1961 a supporting and strengthening structure of the shoulder joint that is made up of the capsule of the shoulder joint blended with tendons and muscles as they pass to the capsule or across it to insert on the head of the humerus …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • rotator cuff — a bandlike structure encircling and supporting the shoulder joint, formed by four muscles attached to and merging with the joint capsule. * * * …   Universalium

  • rotator cuff — noun Anatomy, chiefly N. Amer. a tough sheath of tendons and ligaments that supports the arm at the shoulder joint …   English new terms dictionary

  • rotator cuff — noun a supporting structure of the shoulder consisting of the muscles and tendons that attach the arm to the shoulder joint and enable the arm to move • Hypernyms: ↑structure, ↑anatomical structure, ↑complex body part, ↑bodily structure, ↑body… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Rotator cuff tear — Infobox Disease Name = PAGENAME Caption = Muscles on the dorsum of the scapula, and the Triceps brachii. DiseasesDB = 32230 ICD10 = ICD10|M|75|1|m|70, ICD10|S|46|0|s|40 ICD9 = ICD9|726.1 ICD9|727.61, ICD9|840.4 ICDO = OMIM = MedlinePlus =… …   Wikipedia

  • rotator cuff tendinitis — an overuse injury consisting of inflammation of tendons of one or more of the muscles forming the rotator cuff, usually owing to repetitive elevation and abduction of the upper limb; it can lead to tendon degeneration and bony changes of the… …   Medical dictionary

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