Impingement Syndrome

There are many causes and factors that cause shoulder pain and shoulder impingement is a common reason that causes shoulder pain. The other name for shoulder impingement is, swimmer’s shoulder because it’s common in swimmers. It also commonly occurs in athletes who are playing games that have more shoulder movement like baseball.

A group of muscles consists of the rotator cuff and the shoulder is bound by tendons to the upper arm. The rotator cuff facilitates the arm and arm elevation to rotate.

The rotator cuff rests under the top of the shoulder and is called the acromion. The rotator cuff grips or rubs against the acromion if you have shoulder impingement. When you lift your arm, the space (bursa) between the rotator cuff and acromion narrows, which increases pressure. The increased pressure irritates the rotator cuff, leading to impingement.


  • Overuse injury because of repeated activities
  • Wear and tear due to growing age
  • Swelling in the tendon due to strain/torn
  • Inflammation of the bursa
  • Bone spurs


  • Shoulder pain
  • Pain commonly present in the front of shoulder and moves to the sides
  • The shoulder pain becomes worse at night and also increases when you take turns during sleeping or lying at painful shoulder
  • Weakness of shoulder and arm
  • Pain in overhead arm movements
  • Pain in lifting the arm up and taking it down from the lifted position
  • Tenderness around shoulder especially at the front
  • Stiffness in shoulder
  • Pain in the backward movement of shoulder like reaching or touching the back


  • Physical examination by your doctor and your doctor can also ask if there is any history of injury or fall on the shoulder
  • Injuries and spurs of the bone identified using x-ray. But the soft tissues are not visible in the x-ray
  • For identification of soft tissue injuries, MRI done. MRI also helps in grading the severity of the injury


  • Take rest and avoid activities causing pain in shoulder
  • Do icing on the affected area
  • Physical therapy exercises to strengthen the muscle around the shoulder joint
  • Medical management helps in improving the swelling and pain condition
  • Steroid-containing injections for pain relief and reduction in swelling
  • When all the medical managements / conservative treatments fail in improving the condition, then surgery recommended
  • An arthroscopy procedure performed to repair the damage
Get Free Online Consultation