fbpx Skip to content
Rotator Cuff Tendonitis Treatment

Rotator Cuff Tendonitis Treatment

Did you know that we’re the only physio clinic in Perth to focus specifically on shoulder pain?

Therapists who don’t often treat shoulders can find rotator cuff tendonitis treatment extremely challenging. At Perth Shoulder Physio, we consider rotator cuff tendonitis treatment to be the cornerstone of our practice.

So, if you think you might need rotator cuff tendonitis treatment, you’ve landed on the right page.

Book an appointment with your Perth Shoulder Physio today for very best chance of avoiding chronic shoulder pain or requiring surgery.

Note: This page contains general information on rotator cuff tendonitis treatment in Perth. More specific advice and management can be provided in person at Perth Shoulder Physio. Book an appointment with Perth Shoulder Physio for more specific information about your shoulder injury and the optimal treatment for you.

What is the difference between Rotator Cuff Tendonitis and Rotator Cuff Tendinopathy?

Rotator cuff tendinopathy is the currently accepted term for a painful or dysfunctional rotator cuff tendon. The term rotator cuff tendonitis is still commonly used however ‘itis’ infers inflammation, which is not always present in rotator cuff tendon pathology.

For the remainder of this page, we’ll discuss rotator cuff tendinopathy treatment, rather than rotator cuff tendonitis treatment.

What is Rotator Cuff Tendinopathy?

To understand rotator cuff tendinopathy, you must first understand the anatomy and function of the rotator cuff muscles and tendons. Click here to read about the rotator cuff muscles on our rotator cuff tear page.

There are three stages of rotator cuff tendinopathy:

  • Reactive Rotator Cuff Tendinopathy: acutely swollen (think inflamed) and often painful tendon
  • Rotator Cuff Tendon Dysrepair: Failed healing of a reactive rotator cuff tendinopathy
  • Degenerative Rotator Cuff Tendinopathy: Chronically degenerative rotator cuff tendon that often extends into a rotator cuff tear

What is the cause of Rotator Cuff Tendinopathy?

Rotator cuff tendinopathy develops when the shoulder is subjected to an unaccustomed load i.e., the shoulder, and specifically the rotator cuff muscles are required to work harder than they’re physically capable of at that given time.

The physical load or stress that a tendon can tolerate can be very different for everyone. For example, an overhead athlete will have much stronger and more resilient rotator cuff tendons than a sedentary person. Therefore, an athlete may develop a rotator cuff tendinopathy if they increase their training sessions dramatically, however a sedentary person may only be required to perform some extra housework, start an exercise class, or throw a ball for their dog.

Reactive Rotator Cuff Tendinopathy

Rotator cuff tendinopathy may develop after one session of unaccustomed activity, but can also occur gradually due to inadequate rest between sessions.

Degenerative Rotator Cuff Tendinopathy

Degenerative rotator cuff tendinopathy can develop over time due to inadequate or poor rotator cuff tendinopathy treatment. It’s also common for the tendon to degenerate if it’s insufficiently exercised over an extended period. This can lead to degenerative tears of the rotator cuff.

What about bursitis?

Rotator cuff tendinopathy and subacromial bursitis go hand in hand.

The two structures are intimately connected and it’s extremely common for the bursa to become inflamed as a result of rotator cuff tendinopathy. This is a protective mechanism but can lead to increased pain and dysfunction.

The bursa will usually resolve with appropriate rotator cuff treatment, but sometimes requires further intervention like anti-inflammatory medication or cortisone injections.

What are the symptoms of Rotator Cuff Tendinopathy?

Rotator cuff tendinopathy symptoms are almost identical to a rotator cuff tear, which can make diagnosis tricky if you don’t see an experienced and dedicated shoulder physio!

Rotator Cuff Tendinopathy Symptoms may include:

  • Shoulder pain and weakness when raising the arm over head
  • Increased shoulder pain and weakness with resisted movements
  • Pain when lying on the affected shoulder at night

How is a Rotator Cuff Tendinopathy treated?

This section includes general advice on rotator cuff tendinopathy treatment that may benefit you.

Physiotherapy Treatment for Rotator Cuff Tendinopathy

  • Modification of activities that cause shoulder pain
  • Massage, dry needling and other manual therapy to ease pain and muscle tension
  • Specific rotator cuff strengthening exercises to ease pain and maintain muscle strength. These exercises must be customised to the individual’s current capability and gradually progressed until a full recovery is made.

Medical Management of Rotator Cuff Tendinopathy

  • Anti-inflammatory medication
  • Cortisone injection if required
  • Blood injections for degenerative tendinopathy if required

Repair your rotator cuff tendinopathy

Four rotator cuff tendons and three stages of tendinopathy make it impossible to provide generic rotator cuff tendinopathy treatment that will benefit everyone. Fortunately, Perth Shoulder Physio can assess your shoulder injury and implement the plan that’s correct for your individual circumstances.

Is it time to repair your rotator cuff tendinopathy and break free from pain?

Book your treatment today for a personalised treatment plan, to get you on your way to some much-needed pain relief and back to doing all the things you love.


Ready to recover and get pain free?

Your Perth Shoulder Physio is ready to help.