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ROTATOR CUFF KEEPS THE SHOULDER JOINT IN PLACE

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QUESTION: What is a torn rotator cuff? Is surgery performed for this? - M.J.S.

ANSWER: This structure involves four muscles of the shoulder, which is designed in the ball and socket mode to give it mobility. The actual rotator cuff consists of four tendons from the four back muscles that arc over the shoulder joint on their way to attachment in the upper arm. This cuff keeps the shoulder joint in place.The same unpleasant things result from damage to the cuff that occur from any tendon injury, including inflammation. That can be treated with drugs and rest followed by physical therapy.

And the cuff can be torn. What to do with a tear depends on how bad the tear is, how long it's been that way, and if the shoulder is getting progressively worse instead of better. Surgery is done for bad tears that are not improving with rest. Less serious tears can be watched and treated by treating the inflammation.

QUESTION: I'm a biker who lifts weights for conditioning. Which should be first, the lifting or the biking? - I.B.

ANSWER: It is best to lift weights first, then do the biking. This gives you the strength-endurance sequence in proper order. You make greater gains in endurance than if you reversed the order, and I'm assuming that endurance is your primary goal.

C) 1989 North America Syndicate Inc.