Both nonoperative rehabilitation and postoperative rehabilitation of the rotator cuff involves the following principles.
Reduction of overload and total arm rehabilitation
– There should be no compensatory actions in the upper extremity.
– It is advised to quickly use the elbow, forearm and wrist in order to strengthen them. Especially during long immobilization.
– Mobilization of the scapulothoracic joint and submaximal strengthening of the scapular stabilizers are indicated. The injured tissues should not be inappropriately stressed or loaded.
A technique which is used early in the rehabilitation phase is the scapular protraction and retraction resistance exercise. It involves a side-lying position and specific hand placement to resist scapular protraction and retraction without stress applied on the glenohumeral joint. This exercise begins at low resistance. The glenohumeral joint must be in slight abduction and forward flexion during scapular motion.