Infraspinatus Tendon

Dealing With An Injury To Your Infraspinatus Tendon

You use your infraspinatus tendon for back-hand motions such as writing, reaching behind you or opening a door.  The muscle that covers the lower part of your scapula between the tendon and your scapula's spine, attaches to the humerus near the posterior of your upper arm.

Any lateral rotation that takes place in your shoulder is the responsibility of the infraspinatus tendon.  The body of this tendon is roughly two inches long and it also has a wide attachment that varies in size depending on the individual.

In most people, this tendon is very weak so if it is suddenly expected to perform heavy exertion, it will often tear.  This tissue damage can be mild to severe.  Many individuals have a mild tear in their infraspinatus tendon that goes untreated for many years but it can cause severe injury later.

Some individuals experience a strain in the tendon rather than a tear.  This usually builds gradually and is extremely common in people who play racquetball.  Any kind of injury to this tendon can persist for many years if left untreated and interfere with sports, sleep and daily activities.

Signs Of Tendinitis

If a strain occurs in the infraspinatus tendon, the individual usually does not experience any immediate discomfort, especially if they are participating in sports.  This is because they are focused on the activity and the tendon is warmed up.  Later on that day is when the pain will present itself, trying to lift the arm or put on a coat or shirt.

Tendinitis in this area will rarely cause any pain in the muscle so it is often hard to pinpoint where the actual discomfort is coming from.  The pain is referred to nearby areas rather that the real site of the injury.  Generally, pain will be felt in the upper portion of the arm and moving into the back.  A strain in the infraspinatus tendon may also make it very difficult to turn the wrist.

Healing Injured Tissues

Quite often, if a strain is allowed a few months of rest, it will heal on its own but in an active person it will slowly worsen over several years.  An exercise program developed for that particular tendon will usually help.


Strengthening Exercises


A physician who has been trained in orthopedic medicine may choose to administer corticosteroid injections.  It is important that a few days of rest follow these injections as well as six weeks of rehabilitation.