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Physical therapy to avoid rotator cuff injuries in your shoulder

Rotator cuff injuries are a common shoulder injury I see a lot from people who perform overhead activities and encounter shoulder pain, however most people don’t actually understand what that means. The shoulder can be a complex and confusing area to comprehend, especially when adding in medical jargon.  One key aspect to understand is that your shoulder is made up of three bones: the scapula (shoulder blade), humerus (upper arm bone) and clavicle (collarbone), which should work in sync for proper mechanics. 

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Your rotator cuff muscles are made up of 4 different muscles: Supraspinatus, Subscapularis, Infraspinatus, and Teres minormuscles. These muscles surround the shoulder joint and help to maintain keep your arm in your shoulder socket and allow for a smooth transition overhead. Without your rotator cuff muscles or weakness can lead to injuries such an impingent, labral tear, rotator cuff tear and tendinitis. I tend to see these injuries most in people who partake in CrossFit, tennis, baseball, volleyball or independent gym lifting overhead (e.g. miliary press).

shoulder muscles rotator cuff

My favorite exercises for the rotator cuff are:

  • using external and internal rotations with bands or weights
  • prone Y
  • prone T
  • Serratus punch



prone Y rotator cuff shoulder physical therapy


prone T rotator cuff shoulder physical therapy


serratus punch rotator cuff shoulder physical therapy


If you are experiencing pain with overhead activities come into Rose Physical Therapy Group for an evaluation and steps to success. At our office near the Navy Yard metro stop in Southeast Washington, DC, I have found that many shoulders respond positively to dry needling, which we regularly perform at Rose. Come in and let us help you get back to doing the things you like pain free!


physical therapy rotator cuff exercises washington dc