Rotator Cuff and Related Disorders

The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons which cover the (ball and socket) shoulder joint like a three dimensional “cuff”. It’s function is related to the rotations of the arm. Hence the name “rotator cuff” represents it’s function and form.

The four muscles which form the rotator cuff are the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, subscapularis and the teres minor. These muscles arise from the scapula (shoulder blade) and are attached to the head of the humerus (upper end of the arm bone). They not only help in rotations, but also provide stability to the glenohumeral joint (shoulder joint). The key function of the rotator cuff is fine tuning the movements of the shoulder by modulating the forces of the other large muscles such as Deltoid, Pectoralis major, Lattismus dorsi and Trapezius.

Problems affecting the rotator cuff are, by far, the most common shoulder condition seen in the community. A wide spectrum of rotator cuff problems are prevalent ranging from subacromial impingement, calcific tendinopathy, rotator cuff tears and cuff tear arthritis. The biceps tendon is also commonly involved in these conditions due to it’s anatomical proximity.

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