Supraspinatus rupture

The supraspinatus muscle travels through the upper part of the shoulder blade and attaches at the upper region of the arm. It is one of the 4 rotator cuff muscles which is responsible for lifting the arm up sideways and utilized in throwing sports since it is the one that holds the arm in the shoulder joint when releasing the object being thrown.

Remember that there are significant forces involved in slowing down the arm after throwing something. Falling onto the shoulder can damage this muscle. In addition, damage can also occur to the tendon as it inserts to the upper part of the shoulder on the humerus.

What are the indications?

Supraspinatus rupture

Sharp shoulder pain at the time of injury.

An individual with a supraspinatus rupture usually have the following symptoms:

  • Sharp shoulder pain at the time of injury
  • Pain is triggered when the arm is rotated outwards and upwards
  • Intensifying pain and weakness if the arm is elevated sideways amidst a 60-degree arc.

Management of a supraspinatus rupture

At the time of injury, the initial objective is to apply an ice pack. Make sure that the pack is wrapped with a clean towel or cloth to prevent skin damage. The ice pack must be applied for 15 minutes every 2 hours during the initial 1-2 days. Additionally, the individual should rest until the pain settles.

In cases involving an incomplete rupture, full rest of the shoulder with immobilization under a sling is advised by doctor. For proper rehabilitation, a sports injury professional can recommend the suitable rehabilitation program.

Quick Note / Disclaimer

The material posted on this page on a supraspinatus rupture is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to recognize and manage muscle injuries, register for a first aid and CPR course with Kelowna First Aid.