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Rotator Cuff (RC) Tendinopathy

What is RC Tendinopathy ? 

Rotator cuff tendinopathy affects the tendons of the shoulder (tissue that connects muscles to bones), leading to pain and difficulty in moving the shoulder.

What are the Causes? 

The causes of rotator cuff tendinopathy can be classified as either intrinsic or extrinsic causes.​


  • Genetics 

  • Aging

  • Anatomical and mechanical properties of the individual 


  • Internal impingement of the shoulder 

  • Compression of the rotator cuff tendons 

Most commonly occurs over a long period of time and does not happen all at once — RC tendinopathy tends to occur through a repeated irritation of the area, most often occurring in sports that requires a constant movement of the arm, shoulder, and overall repetitive motions above shoulder level.

Symptoms of RC Tendinopathy 

Symptoms of RC tendinopathy occur gradually over time; pain tends to increase with the use of shoulder tendons 

  • A dull aching pain occurring in the shoulder and upper arm 

  •  Aching pain during the night, especially when lying on the affected shoulder

  • Shoulder weakness and shoulder stiffness -> causing a loss or decreased range of motion 

Risk Factors of RC Tendinopathy 

  • Age-related factors (over the age of 30) 

  • Repetitive use of the arm in an overhead position or throwing motion: 

    • Swimming 

    • Baseball / Softball 

    • Badminton 

    • Volleyball 

    • Weightlifting

RC Tendinopathy Diagnosis 

Assessment of the symptoms and medical history will be asked by the health provider followed by a physical exam to assess the area of interest and check for: 

  • Range of motion 

  • Area of tenderness 

  • Joint stability 

  • Muscle strength 

RC Tendinopathy Treatment 

Primary intervention for the treatment of RC tendinopathy is physical exercise therapy 

  • Improving shoulder range of motion and muscle function 

  • Restoring normal shoulder movement patterns 

Further Prevention of RC Tendinopathy 

  • Regular resistance exercises to strengthen RC muscles 

  • Avoid overusing the arm and shoulder in the overhead position 

  • Use proper training methods for upper body strengthening 

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