If you’re an athlete, chances are you’ve experienced some sort of shoulder pain at some point. Rotator cuff tendinopathy is a common condition that can cause pain and weakness in the shoulder. Fortunately, there are treatments available that can help relieve your symptoms and get you back to your sport.


What is a rotator cuff tendinopathy?

  • Rotator cuff tendinopathy is a term to describe a painful and/or dysfunctional rotator cuff tendon. The rotator cuff muscles surround the scapula or shoulder blade and assist in shoulder movement.
  • 3 stages to a rotator cuff tendinopathy and these include:
    • Reactive – an acute swollen and painful tendon.
    • Tendon disrepair – failed healing.
    • Degenerative – a chronic degenerative rotator cuff tendinopathy which could lead to a tear. For more information on Rotator Cuff Tear, read more…


  • It is common for tendons to degenerate when they are insufficiently loaded over long periods of time.
  • Sudden increase in activity/load that is higher than the tolerance of the tendon eg. Increase in training sessions for an athlete or sudden increase house work for a sedentary person.


Symptoms include:

  • Pain and weakness when raising the shoulder.
  • Increased shoulder pain and weakness with resisted movements.
  • Pain when lying on the affected shoulder.


Rehabilitation and prevention of Rotator Cuff Tendinopathy  can include:

  • Rest from painful activities.
  • Manual therapy to ease muscle tension eg. Massage, dry needling.
  • Strengthening exercises specific to the rotator cuff muscles to ease pain and maintain muscle strength.
  • Ice packs and anti-inflammatory medication to reduce inflammation.
  • Cortisone injection if required.



  • Surgical intervention may be required if symptoms do not improve after 3-6 months of non-surgical treatment.


If you’re looking for an individualised rehabilitation program to speed up your recovery, our physiotherapists can help.  Book in today and let us help you get back to doing the things you love.

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The Team at Symmetry Physiotherapy