After an accident to the shoulder, doing the right rotator cuff exercise to recover is essential. The shoulder is not only one of the most used joints in the body (second only to the knee) but also most prone to injury and deterioration due to age.
Safe Rotator Cuff Exercise
The following are four exercises that are useful for healing rotator cuff injury. Of course, any exercise at all should only be attempted with the consultation and approval of a licensed orthopedic physician. However, these exercises also work to strengthen and maintain shoulders that are healthy, and adding them to your regular exercise regimen can be very useful.
Face Down Rotation
- Begin lying face down parallel to the edge of a bed or table. Make sure you are far enough from the edge that you can extend your upper arm at 90 degrees from the body, dangling your forearm from the elbow over the edge.
- Using your shoulder, rotate the upper arm until your forearm is parallel to the rest of your body.
- Lower the arm slowly (doing it quickly could lead to injury). Repeat until arm is tired. Very light weights - 2 to 4 ounces - can be used, but not if they make the muscles fatigue quickly.
Upper Side Lift
- Lie on your side, lower arm extended straight up your body. A rolled up towel may be placed under the shoulder joint to make it more comfortable.
- The other arm should rest the bicep along your ribcage, bending at the elbow and letting the forearm drape across the torso. Small weights may be used for this exercise.
- Keeping the elbow close in and touching the body, lift the forearm holding the weight until it is parallel to the floor and at 90 degrees from the body.
- Release slowly, and repeat the exercise until the arm is tired.
Lower Side Extension
- Begin in what is basically the opposite position of the previous exercise - lying on your side still, but with the upper arm resting along the top of your body.
- The lower arm should be bent at the elbow, resting on the flat surface you're laying on, sticking out from the body at 90 degrees.
- Pull your forearm towards your body, pressing it vertically up across your stomach.
- As with all exercises, release slowly to the surface again, and repeat until the arm is tired.
After doing these exercises along with the rest of your doctor-approved regimen, icing the shoulder (especially if injured) will help increase healing and decrease chances of further damage.These are only a few of the exercises possible for improving the rotator cuff. Research online can only provide one-way feedback; consulting with a personal trainer, physician, or coach is highly recommended when trying to pick the right rotator cuff injury exercises. The best exercise is usually simply some activity such as tennis which will simply use the shoulder in natural ways, keeping it limber and strong for years.
Proceed with Caution
When the rotator cuff is injured, one of the biggest challenges to healing is the lack of blood flow to the area combined with the tendency for people to try and do too much too soon. Regular therapeutic massage is one method of improving blood circulation, as is following the R.I.C.E.R. acronym: rest, ice, compression, exercise, and referral. That "E" for exercise is the one that is most dangerous. It's very easy for someone to push too much too soon and re-injure the muscles and tendons which hold everything together.