Shoulder impingement syndrome is a condition where the top outer edge of your shoulder blade pinches or rubs against your rotator cuff. This occurs when the space between your shoulder blade and rotator cuff narrows, causing your shoulder to become irritated and painful. At High Mountain Orthopedics, we understand how disruptive this condition can be, which is why we specialize in helping those with shoulder impingement find relief. Here, we describe what shoulder impingement is, as well as its symptoms and causes.

Causes of Shoulder Impingement

Because your rotator cuff connects to the humerus (a bone that gives your arm a wide range of motion), this makes the area more susceptible to impingement syndrome than other muscles in the body. Young athletes and middle-aged individuals are more at risk of developing shoulder impingement due to repetitive shoulder movement. Because of the location and function of the rotator cuff, there are several activities known to cause shoulder impingement symptoms, including:

  • Baseball
  • Construction
  • Painting
  • Repetitive overhead lifting
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Volleyball

Shoulder impingement can also come from additional biological factors involving your shoulder such as:

  • Arthritis
  • Bursitis
  • Swollen/torn tendon
  • Tendonitis

Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of shoulder impingement can vary from mild to severe, sometimes impacting your ability to complete everyday tasks like writing, typing, or other activities. If left untreated, this can affect more serious aspects like quality of life, relationships, or work. Many signs and symptoms could indicate a shoulder impingement, including:

  • Weak or stiff arm
  • Difficulty reaching behind or upwards
  • Trouble sleeping due to pain
  • Pain and/or tenderness in the arm, which may also radiate from the shoulder to the side of the arm
  • Severe pain when lying on your arm
  • Struggling to raise and lower your arm

If you’re dealing with one or more of these symptoms, you should schedule an appointment with a medical professional. Many surgical and non-surgical options are used to treat this condition, and the course of treatment depends on the severity of the injury.

Shoulder Impingement Treatment Options

When working with a patient diagnosed with shoulder impingement, we will first try to address symptoms using a variety of non-surgical methods. Often, treatment will include:

  • Anti-inflammatory medication
  • Gentle strengthening exercises
  • Icing regimen
  • Over-the-counter pain medication
  • Stretching

If these methods of treatment are unsuccessful, then you’ll start to discuss surgical options with a doctor. Using a minimally invasive procedure called arthroscopic surgery, Dr. Tony S. Wanich at High Mountain Orthopedics can accurately pinpoint the area of concern and develop an additional surgical plan. Physical therapy will be prescribed after all surgical procedures to aid your recovery.

Schedule an Appointment Today

If you’re experiencing any symptoms related to shoulder impingement, it may be time to visit a medical professional so you can find relief. High Mountain Orthopedics offers surgical and non-surgical treatment options to the Wayne, Paramus, and Englewood, NJ areas. To learn more, schedule an appointment with one of our physicians today.

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