Posts Tagged ‘musculotendinous cuff’

Shoulder Rotator Cuff Disease

The rotator cuff is a musculotendinous cuff which surrounds the humeral head and through which the shoulder stabilising and movement muscles exert their forces onto the shoulder. The cuff enables us to put our shoulder through a very large range of motion, the greatest range of any joint in the body, for the purpose of putting our hands in functional positions. The shoulder’s function is to allow our hands to be put in useful positions within our visual field so we can perform the intricate activities that define being human to a degree.

As the muscles approach their insertions on the humeral head they become more and more fibrous until they become wholly tendinous. Many bodily tendons are cylindrical and long but the shoulder tendons are flatter structures which coalesce over the top of the humeral head. The rotator cuff has a relatively poor blood supply and little or no ability to heal and with time and physical stresses tears appear which are often painful but not always so. Rotator cuff tears are a major part of a shoulder surgeon’s work and rotator cuff surgery is common, complex and demands detailed physiotherapy follow up for successful outcomes.

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