Rotator Cuff Tendinopathy


Rotator Cuff Tendinopathy

Does shoulder pain and stiffness make reaching into cupboards and hanging washing on the line a difficult task? Are you struggling to progress your exercises at the gym because of shoulder pain and weakness? There are many conditions that could be causing this, one of them is rotator cuff tendinopathy.

What is Rotator Cuff Tendinopathy?

The rotator cuff refers to a group of four muscles and the tendons of these muscles that start at your shoulder blade, and wrap around to the front of your shoulder, forming a cuff around your shoulder, hence the name.

Rotator cuff tendinopathy is when the rotator cuff muscles and tendons are overloaded and become irritated and weakened.

What does it feel like?

  • Likely dull pain over your shoulder blade and/or around your shoulder
  • Sometimes the pain can radiate down your arm
  • Pain is often worse with reaching up, reaching behind back, lifting things, and direct pressure onto the shoulder. So activities like hanging washing on the line, clipping your bra, or sleeping on your shoulder can be painful
  • Shoulder movements are often restricted from pain and stiffness
  • You might also experience weakness in your shoulder
  • These symptoms will come on gradually

What Can Cause Rotator Cuff Tendinopathy?

The exact cause is still unknown, but there are different factors that may contribute to rotator cuff tendinopathy. 

Compression of the rotator cuff tendons in the subacromial space (this is a space formed by the arm bone/humerus and shoulder blade/scapula) caused by:

  • differences in the structure of the shoulder (such as bone spurs)
  • changes to the movement of the shoulder
  • posture

Increased load on one or more of the rotator cuff tendons either from putting too much stress on the tendons in a short period of time, or repeated strain over a long period of time

Treatment Options


  • Hands on treatment can help to reduce pain and improve mobility
  • Exercises are very important in the rehabilitation of rotator cuff tendinopathy. Your Osteopath will show you exercises to first manage the pain and improve your mobility, then progress the exercise program to gradually strengthen your rotator cuff and the surrounding muscles.

Corticosteroid Injection

This is an option if other treatment modalities are ineffective, however, this is mainly for pain-relief, and can weaken the tendons


There are different surgical options, but this is mainly recommended if non-surgical treatments aren’t effective. It’s important that you follow an exercise program after the surgery, to properly rehabilitate your shoulder and prevent future issues.

Is shoulder pain bothering you? Give us a call or book online, so that we can assess your shoulder, and get started with treatment!

Looking to make an appointment?

take2health is here to help! Booking online is the most convenient way to get the service, practitioner & time you want.