Rotator Cuff Tendinopathy
Rotator Cuff Strain Rehabilitation Exercises
You may do all of these exercises right away.
Isometric shoulder external rotation:
Standing in a doorway with your elbow bent 90° and the back of your wrist pressing against the door frame, try to press your hand outward into the door frame. Hold for 5 seconds. Do 3 sets of 10.
Isometric shoulder internal rotation:
Standing in a doorway with your elbow bent 90° and the front of your wrist pressing against the door frame, try to press your palm into the door frame. Hold for 5 seconds. Do 3 sets of 10.
Wand exercise: Flexion:
Stand upright and hold a stick in both hands, palms down. Stretch your arms by lifting them over your head, keeping your elbows straight. Hold for 5 seconds and return to the starting position. Repeat 10 times.
Wand exercise: Extension:
Stand upright and hold a stick in both hands behind your back. Move the stick away from your back. Hold the end position for 5 seconds. Relax and return to the starting position. Repeat 10 times.
Wand exercise: External rotation:
Lie on your back and hold a stick in both hands, palms up. Your upper arms should be resting on the floor, your elbows at your sides and bent 90°. Using one arm, push your other arm out away from your body while keeping the elbow of the arm being pushed at your side. Hold the stretch for 5 seconds. Repeat 10 times.
Wand exercise: Shoulder abduction and adduction:
Stand upright and hold a stick with both hands, palms facing away from your body. Rest the stick against the front of your thighs. While keeping your elbows straight, use one arm to push your other arm out to the side and up as high as possible. Hold for 5 seconds. Repeat 10 times.
Resisted shoulder external rotation:
Stand sideways next to a door. Rest the hand farthest away from the door across your stomach. With that hand grasp tubing that is connected to a doorknob at waist level. Keeping your elbow in at your side, rotate your arm outward and away from your waist. Make sure you keep your elbow bent 90 degrees and your forearm parallel to the floor. Repeat 10 times. Build up to 3 sets of 10.
Resisted shoulder internal rotation:
Holding tubing connected to a door knob at waist level, keep your elbow in at your side and rotate your arm inward across your body. Make sure you keep your forearm parallel to the floor. Do 3 sets of 10.
Stand with your arms at your sides and with your elbows straight. Slowly raise your arms to eye level. As you raise your arms, they should be spread apart so that they are only slightly in front of your body (at about a 30 degree angle to the front of your body). Point your thumbs toward the ceiling. Hold for 2 seconds and lower your arms slowly. Do 3 sets of 10. Hold a soup can or light weight when doing the exercise and increase the weight as the exercise gets easier.
Side-lying external rotation:
Lie on your one side with your top arm at your side and your elbow bent to 90°. Keep your elbow against your side, raise your forearm and hold for 2 seconds. Slowly lower your arm. Do 3 sets of 10. You can start doing this exercise holding a soup can or light weight and gradually increase the weight as long as there is no pain.
Lie on a table or the edge of a bed face down with one arm hanging down straight to the floor. Raise your arm out to the side, with your thumbs pointed toward the ceiling until your arms are parallel to the floor. Hold for 2 seconds and then lower it slowly. Start this exercise with no weight. As you get stronger add a light weight or hold a soup can. Do 3 sets of 10.
Push-up with a plus:
Begin on the floor on your hands and knees. Keep your arms a shoulder width apart and lift your feet off the floor. Arch your back as high as possible and round your shoulders (this is the “plus” part or the exercise). Bend your elbows and lower your body to the floor. Return to the starting position and arch your back again. Do 3 sets of 10.
Written by Tammy White, MS, PT, and Phyllis Clapis, PT, DHSc, OCS, for RelayHealth. Published by RelayHealth.
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