Orthopedic Treatment For Shoulder Impingement

by Administrator 21. August 2014 10:35

Also known as Rotator Cuff Tendinitis, Shoulder Impingement is caused when the tendons are recurrently stuck and flattened while moving the shoulder. While raising the arm over the shoulder, the acromion can rub against the tendons and bursa, resulting in irritation and pain. This syndrome is quite common in athletes and middle aged people. Repetitive overhead movements while performing activities like painting, construction, swimming, tennis, basketball, volleyball, badminton, weight lifting etc. is a risk factor for impinging of the shoulder. It can also cause other bone and joint abnormalities. Due to this, the tissues within and around shoulder joint get stressed and cause inflammation and swelling.


  • Repetitive overhead movements while playing volleyball, tennis, badminton, golf, baseball, softball etc. and similar activities like stocking shelves, paper hanging, and construction can cause this syndrome.
  • Shoulder instability in young athletes is a likely cause of Shoulder Impingement. 
  • It can also be a result of some kind of fall injury.
  • Arthritis can cause narrowing of the subacromial space, due to which the rotator cuff and bursa have less room to travel. During motion, these structures get pinched, causing Shoulder Impingement.
  • Structural or anatomic abnormalities can also result in a narrow subacromial space, resulting in this syndrome. 


  • Difficulty reaching behind the back.
  • Pain in shoulders with overuse of arm.
  • Weakness in shoulder muscles.
  • Swelling and tenderness in front of the shoulder.
  • Pain and stiffness while lifting up the arm.
  • Pain radiates to front of the shoulder to the side of arm.
  • Loss of strength and motion in the shoulder.
  • Limited and painful movement of the shoulder.


This syndrome can be diagnosed by an orthopedic doctor by performing physical examinations and evaluating medical history. These diagnostic tests help to detect if there are any changes in the bone or if there is some injury to the muscles.



Shoulder Impingement syndrome can be treated by avoiding overhead and repetitive movements so that the pain and irritation subsides. Anti-inflammatory medicines and ice can help to reduce the swelling. To restore normal range of motion in athletes, exercises can help to reduce the pain. These non-surgical methods can take up to several weeks and even months, but help in gradual improvement to return to function normally. Physical therapy also reduces pain and strengthens the shoulder. Steroid injections may be needed if these methods do not provide relief from the pain.


Surgery is required when the pain does not subside. The shoulder surgeon performs surgery on the shoulder to create more space for movement of rotator cuff. By way of this, the inflamed portion of the bursa is removed.  The doctor may either use open surgery and arthroscopic surgery to perform the procedure. Post-surgery, a rehabilitation program helps to regain the strength and movement of the shoulder, which might take 2 to 4 months or a year.

This syndrome can occur to anyone but it is, nevertheless, avoidable. Athletes can modify their playing techniques and avoid movements that risk hurting the shoulder. Avoiding repetitive movements can prevent this syndrome. Taking necessary treatment in time can prevent the condition from getting worse and protect the rotator cuff and bursa from getting pinched.

For expert treatment of Shoulder Impingement or any other shoulder condition, contact Dr. Fagelman at (972) 492-1334.  You can also visit him at 4780 North Josey Lane, Carrollton, Texas 75010.

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