Shoulder Impingement Overview
Shoulder pain is one of the most common complaints heard by shoulder specialist Dr. Jervis Yau in his Santa Barbara, Goleta, Santa Maria and Ventura, California orthopedic practice. As the most mobile joint in the human body, any injury to the shoulder can cause a variety of issues, such as pain, weakness and instability. Shoulder impingement is a common cause of pain and is caused by pinching (impingement) of the rotator cuff tendons. The continuous pinching leads to inflammation and pain causing shoulder dysfunction.
What Causes Shoulder Impingement?
Shoulder impingement occurs when the rotator cuff tendons rub against the bones and ligaments located on the top of the shoulder. This may be due to a bone spur that extends down from the acromion or from abnormal shoulder positioning related to poor posture. Chronic impingement may lead to persistent pain, weakness and even rotator cuff tears.
Who is at Risk for Shoulder Impingement?
Swimmers and other athletes who use repetitive overhead motions are at an increased risk of this condition. Shoulder impingement has also been called “swimmer’s shoulder” because of the prevalence of the condition in the swimming population.
Age, tendon irritation and subacromial bursitis are also associated with shoulder impingement.
What are Shoulder Impingement Symptoms?
Shoulder pain is the hallmark sign found in a patient affected by shoulder impingement. This is often worsened by overhead activities. Pain is often felt over the front of the joint and the outside of the upper arm. The level of pain may intensify at night in many patients, leading to a loss of sleep. Patients may also experience a sensation of shoulder grinding and joint weakness.