When you surf, you spend a good portion of the day on your board, paddling out to sea, trying to catch the perfect set. Unfortunately, all the paddling that you're doing is setting your shoulders up for some serious injuries. If you've ever paid attention to the way you paddle, you've probably noticed that your arms come back in towards your torso after each stroke. While that's an efficient way to propel you, and your board, out past the breakers, it's not very good on your shoulders. In fact, it's a good way to develop a torn rotator cuff. If you've been sidelined by a torn rotator cuff, you probably want to get back to the surf as soon as possible. However, if you try to get back too quickly, you could find yourself permanently sidelined. Here are four steps you should take to help you heal your rotator cuff safely, and thoroughly so you can get back on your board.

Adjust Your Activities

When you're recovering from a torn rotator cuff, the best thing you can do is give it some rest, especially during those first critical days following the injury. However, that doesn't mean you should immobilize your arm, and refuse to move your shoulder. That's actually the worst thing you could do. Your shoulder will still need some motion to keep the blood flowing, and promote healthy healing. Instead, avoid any activities that will require you to move your arm over your head, or that will require any type of repetitive motion.

Put It On Ice

Following an injury that results in a torn rotator cuff, your shoulder is going to swell, and the muscle tissue is going to become inflamed. To help your shoulder heal properly, and to reduce the swelling, inflammation, and pain, you'll need to apply ice. Wrap an ice pack in a thin towel, and apply it to your shoulder. You don't want to put the ice pack directly on your skin, or you could develop tissue damage. Leave the ice pack on your shoulder for about 20 minutes. Repeat several times a day.

Throw On Some Warmth

In addition to reducing the swelling, inflammation, and pain, you'll also want to improve blood circulation to your shoulder. That's where the application of heat comes in. Turn a heating pad on to medium, and place it on your shoulder. Leave it in place for about 10-15 minutes. Repeat the heat application several times a day. You can alternate between heat and cold applications to assist the healing process.

Schedule Some PT

When you're a surfer, you need every part of your body to perform at its best. If you've got a torn rotator cuff, you're going to need some professional help getting it back to peak performance. That's why you need to schedule time for physical therapy. They're going to get your muscles back to where they should be. They can also help you find ways to adjust your stroke, which will help you avoid this injury in the future.