Physical Therapy Exercises for a Torn Rotator Cuff

By Steve Silverman

The rotator cuff is a series of four small muscles that surrounds the shoulder. Over the course of time, it is easy for an individual to tear or damage one or more of the muscles even if there has not been any dramatic event that caused the injury. Once one or more of the muscles have been torn, there are exercises that can be done in the course of physical therapy that can help with mobility, strength and contending with pain. If they don't help, surgery is an option, but it should be the last option.

Outward Pull With Exercise Band

Stand up straight and hold a 24-inch exercise band about shoulder length apart. Pull the band about 12 inches to the outside with each arm and hold the position for 3 seconds. Return to the original position and repeat the exercise 10 times. Take a 30-second break and do another set.

Shoulder Shrug

Stand and hold a 3-lb. dumbbell in each hand. Let the weights dangle shortly below waist level with your arms extended. Shrug your shoulders up and hold the weight in that position for 3 seconds. Return to the original position and repeat 10 times. Take a 30-second break and repeat the set. Using a heavier weight could damage your shoulder further but using a light weight can help blood flow and start the rebuilding process of the four rotator cuff muscles.

Bench Press

Lay down on a flat surface or a weight bench. Use a house broom or a golf club and hold it as if you were going to do a bench press with a heavy weight. Lift the broom or club up 12 to 14 inches and then lower it to its original position. Repeat the lift 10 times. The action of lifting---even though the weight is negligible---will help torn rotator cuff muscles and possibly improve function.

About The Author

Steve Silverman is an award-winning writer, covering sports since 1980. Silverman authored The Minnesota Vikings: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and Who's Better, Who's Best in Football -- The Top 60 Players of All-Time, among others, and placed in the Pro Football Writers of America awards three times. Silverman holds a Master of Science in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism.

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