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The Rotator Cuff Complex Essay

1985 words - 8 pages

The rotator cuff muscles play a vital role in dynamic stability of the shoulder and glenohumeral joint. The glenohumeral joint is a shallow socket that allows for multiple directional movements through the frontal, sagittal, and transverse planes. The glenohumeral joint has the widest range of motion of all the joints in the body. The shoulder complex contains three bones: the scapula, the clavicle, and the humerus providing shape, support, and biomechanical form. The repetitive and forceful external rotation of the humerus is the primary cause of micro-trauma in competitive athletes resulting in anterior instability. “Only recently has the subtle instability of the shoulder joint become recognized as one of the primary casues of shoulder pain and dysfunction in athlete, especially those under 35 years of age” (Barry, Dillingham & Mcguire, 2002). The injury can be acute or chronic with mechanic stresses being from intrinsic or extrinsic factor. The diagnosis and treatment options are based on the classification of the injury. The classification is based on the location (Articular or Bursal surface, or Complete) and severity of the tear (0-IV) with 0 being the normal and IV being very severe. For example, an articular surface injury with a minimal tear is A-I and a complete rotator cuff tear is a C-IV (Habermeyer, Magosch & Lichtenberg, 2006). Rehabilitation of the rotator cuff needs to include strength and static flexibility training to stabilize and restore the range of motion (ROM) of the shoulder complex. A good prevention remedy is to include a strength training program for the length of the sport and remain part of a general fitness regimen.
The pathophysiology of the shoulder complex is important in understanding the complexity of rotator cuff injuries. “The shoulder joint is the articulation between the scapula and the humerus. The joint is known as the glenohumeral (GH) joint because of the two articulating bony surfaces” (Behnke, 2012, p. 45). The shoulder complex contains three bones: the scapula, the clavicle, and the humerus providing shape, support, and biomechanical form. The head of the humerus sits in the shallow socket in the glenoid fossa forming the GH joint. The supraspinatus, subscapularis, infraspinatus, and teres minor form the musculotendinous structure known as the rotator cuff. These muscles stabilize the shoulder girdle and provide fundamental movement through “all three cardinal planes” (Behnka, 2012, p. 51). The muscles generate force by contracting through concentric (force) and eccentric (deceleration) actions caused by a throwing action. The contractual actions of the rotator cuff muscles keep the humeral head inside the glenoid fossa. Shoulder injuries are common among athletes because the instability of the glenohumeral joint. This joint “allows a wider range of motion on multiple planes,” therefore the rotator cuff muscles must maximize their efforts to stabilize the GH joint (Barry et al., 2002, p. 143)....

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