Shoulder impingement is a common condition that affects people of all ages, especially athletes. It occurs when the rotator cuff and bursa become pinched or ‘impinged’ beneath the acromion , usually due to overuse or repetitive irritation. Symptoms include pain, weakness and motion loss in the front and side of the shoulder that is aggravated by reaching the arm up behind the back, or above head level. Shoulder impingement is closely related to shoulder bursitis and rotator cuff tendinitis, and may occur in combination with these conditions.
Shoulder impingement is commonly caused by repetitive overhead motions such as swimming and sports that involve throwing. Other causes include acromioclavicular joint arthritis, ligament injury, structural abnormalities and weakness of the rotator cuff muscles.
Treatment can include one or more of the following:
- Ice therapy
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- Steroid injections
- Surgery – if symptoms persist
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