The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles that run from the shoulder blade to the top of the arm bone. They act to support and to move the shoulder joint. The tendons of the rotator cuff muscle group attach the muscles to the bone. Tendinopathy refers to inflammation and swelling within one or more of these tendons.
Rotator cuff tendinopathy occurs most commonly in the rotator cuff muscle known as the supraspinatus. It is an overuse injury due to repetitive use of this muscle. It is commonly found in throwing or bowling sports. Microscopic tearing of the substance of the tendon may occur due to over use causing the condition.
The pain caused by rotator cuff tendinopathy develops over a period of time. Initially, although felt after exercise, it is usually ignored as it quickly disappears. However continued participation in the sport or activity will lead to further development of the condition and will result in more persistent symptoms. The problem should not be ignored as it will not get better without modification of activity and treatment. Continuing to exercise may feel ok but usually only reflects a warming up of the area and will disguise the continued process of degradation within the tendon as you exercise.
Usually the condition can be treated successfully once diagnosed with treatments such as friction massage, dry needling and specific strengthening exercises. A phased return to exercise is necessary to ensure no recurrence of the condition.