Shoulder impingement occurs when a rotator cuff tendon (and often the bursa) becomes impinged or pinched in the space between the acromion and the head of the humerus. This typically occurs when you reach your arm over shoulder height or rotate it inwards. Once the tendon and bursa are inflamed, they may restrict shoulder movement and cause pain. Symptoms of shoulder impingement include pain at the front or top of the shoulder and occasionally down the arm, pain with heavy lifting or reaching above shoulder height and pain lying on the injured shoulder.

Shoulder impingement can have a number of causes, including:

  • Trauma to the shoulder which can damage the tendon or irritate the bursa
  • Overuse with repetitive reaching or mouse use
  • Poor posture and biomechanics causing abnormal movement patterns
  • Reduced space for the tendons caused by thickened tendons or bony spurs

How is it treated?

Shoulder impingement typically responds well to physiotherapy and a specific exercise program. Your Physiotherapist will also provide treatment including soft tissue release and mobilisation of the shoulder, neck and upper back as well as exercises to help to restore movement and strength to the shoulder.

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