Recovery Physical Therapy

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Shoulder and Rotator Cuff Injuries

The anatomy of the shoulder joint complex, comprised of three bones ( scapula, clavicle and humerus) and four joints ( glenohumeral, acromioclavicular, sternoclavicular and the scapulothoracic),allows for tremendous range of motion, however, this high degree of mobility requires some compromise in stability. This in turn greatly increases the vulnerability of the shoulder to injury, particularly in dynamic overhead athletic activities such as throwing.

At RPT we see a vast array of shoulder injuries including AC separation, subluxations, dislocations, impingement syndrome, rotator cuff tendonitis and tears. Following a thorough evaluation a plan of care is established where, generally, our initial goal is to diminish pain and any inflammation, followed by an increase in range of motion, a progressive strengthening program and concludes with a well planned “return to activity” progression.

Post-surgical patients always follow the specific protocol of the referring surgeon and generally include a protection phase to allow proper healing of the soft tissue and joint structures, an intermediate phase to restore functional range of motion and improve strength and an advanced phase to restore normal strength, power endurance and neuro muscular control. For the athlete, this final phase would include a functional progression to full activity. An example of this would include a throwing progression for a pitcher to build the proper arm strength, power and endurance to generate the necessary velocity of the baseball and to meet the rigor of a typical pitching rotation.

Photos of Shoulder and Rotator Cuff Treatment at Recovery PT (click to enlarge)

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