Various supporting structures aid in the smooth movement of the shoulder joint. The joint is held together and stabilized by a group of tendons called the rotator cuff. A fluid-filled sac called a bursa, located above the rotator cuff, helps in the frictionless movement of the shoulder. Shoulder impingement is one of the most common causes of pain in the adult shoulder.
Impingement results from pressure on the rotator cuff from part of the shoulder blade (scapula) as the arm is lifted, inflammation of the bursa (bursitis), or irritation or damage of the tendons (tendonitis). It is more likely to occur in young and middle aged people who engage in physical activities that require repeated overhead arm movements.
Shoulder impingement may cause severe pain at rest and during activities, weakness and stiffness of the arm, and difficulty in raising the hand overhead.
Diagnosis involves physical examination by your doctor to check for the possible range of movements with the affected shoulder. X-rays and MRI scans may be ordered to view the injury and inflammation.
Shoulder impingement can be treated with rest, ice packs, anti-inflammatory drugs and avoiding the activities involving the shoulder. Physical therapy may be advised to strengthen the muscles and steroid injections may be administered if pain persists. Open or arthroscopic surgery (minimally invasive surgery performed with a narrow tubed fitted with a camera) is recommended to repair torn rotator cuff tendons, and remove a part of the shoulder bone and bursa.
Other Shoulder and Elbow Conditions
- Adult Forearm Fractures
- Arthritis of the Shoulder
- Biceps Tendon Tear at the Elbow
- Clavicle Fracture (Broken Collarbone)
- Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
- Distal Biceps Rupture
- Distal Humerus Fractures of the Elbow
- Dislocated Shoulder
- Elbow Dislocation
- Elbow Injuries in the Throwing Athlete
- Elbow (Olecranon) Bursitis
- Elbow Fractures in Children
- Forearm Fractures in Children
- Fracture of the Shoulder Blade (Scapula)
- Frozen Shoulder
- Golfer’s Elbow
- Lateral Epicondylitis
- Osteoarthritis of the Elbow
- Osteochondritis Dissecans
- Radial Head Fractures of the Elbow
- Recurrent and Chronic Elbow Instability
- Rotator Cuff Tear
- Shoulder Joint Tear (Glenoid Labrum Tear)
- Shoulder Impingement
- Shoulder Injuries in the Throwing Athlete
- Shoulder Instability
- Shoulder Separation
- SLAP Tears
- Shoulder Trauma (Fractures and Dislocations)
- Tennis Elbow
- Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
- Ulnar Nerve Entrapment at the Elbow (Cubital TunnelSyndrome)
- Ulnar Collateral Ligament (UCL) Injury