New York Spine Institute Spine Services

How to Prevent Rotator Cuff Tears  

How to Prevent Rotator Cuff Tears  

How to Prevent Rotator Cuff Tears  

By: Alexios Apazidis, M.D., M.B.A.

Dr. Alexios Apazidis is a board-certified orthopedic spinal surgeon with New York Spine Institute (NYSI). He currently treats patients facing orthopedic and spine conditions at multiple NYSI locations across New York City and Long Island and performs surgical procedures at St. Joseph’s, Mercy & Nassau University Hospital.

Your rotator cuff plays a crucial role in your daily movement. After a rotator cuff tear, it may be painful to lift your arms, sleep on your side or reach for something behind you. If you want to know how to prevent rotator cuff tears, it’s important to understand how they occur.

Your rotator cuff is the group of muscles and tendons surrounding your shoulder blade and upper arm. Athletes and elderly people are the most prone to these injuries. Although instant tears are common, long-term overuse of your rotator cuff can also harm your body. To avoid a rotator cuff tear, we recommend taking the following preventive actions:

Exercise Your Shoulders (And Warm Up Beforehand)

Along with keeping the rest of your body in shape, regular exercise can strengthen your rotator cuff. Because your rotator cuff is a collection of muscles, exercise helps prevent potential injuries. Make sure to warm up beforehand with gentle stretches like you would with any exercise. Jumping jacks, side-arm raises or light weightlifting are great ways to warm up your muscles.

The best exercises to prevent a rotator cuff injury will stretch and strengthen your entire shoulder. Rotating each arm or holding both arms above your head can work your muscles and improve circulation. The key to prevention is to not overdo it. Some exercises may aggravate the rotator cuff, such as heavy weightlifting or aerobics. Take it easy to help your shoulders become stronger over time without injury.

Practice Good Posture

Your posture can affect your shoulder placement, making them more susceptible to a rotator cuff injury. By improving your daily posture, you can prevent long-term wear and tear. Similarly, keep the proper form when you use weights or equipment and know what exercises will aggravate your rotator cuff to prevent straining your shoulder muscles. 

Avoid Repetitive Overhead Motions

Regular overhead movement can weaken the rotator cuff over time. As many baseball and tennis players know, one wrong overhead move can create an acute rotator cuff injury. If your profession or hobbies require you to repeatedly lift your arms, you should speak with a specialist about reducing stress on your shoulder.

Don’t Ignore Shoulder Pain

Patients often develop degenerative injuries because they ignore the warning signs. If you feel shoulder or back pain, see a doctor to prevent a rotator cuff injury. Avoid heavy exercise or overhead movement if you feel pain near these muscles.

Get Treatment for a Rotator Cuff Injury

Get Treatment for a Rotator Cuff Injury

With light exercise and improved habits, you can reduce the risk of a rotator cuff tear. If you already feel shoulder pain, it may signify a worsening condition. Speaking with a New York Spine Institute specialist could help you mitigate any future issues with your rotator cuff. Enjoy personalized treatment from our experts when you make an appointment today!