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Shoulder Impingement

People who are active in sports or jobs that require repetitive overhead activities are at risk to develop shoulder "Impingement Syndrome".  Impingement is a result of certain anatomic structures, particularly the bursa, rotator cuff, and biceps tendon rubbing against other structures in your shoulder. The symptoms include pain, popping or grinding, and stiffness in your shoulder.  Symptoms are often aggravated by overhead activities.  You may feel an ache in your shoulder even at rest.  Pain can be located in the front or side of the shoulder, but can be non-specific in nature.  At times, the pain may refer down the arm.

Impingement syndrome is diagnosed by your physician via careful physical exam.  Impingement tests include seeing which movements cause pain.  Range of motion and strength testing are also important factors in evaluating impingement syndrome. X-rays are taken to rule out fractures, dislocations, tumors, calcific deposits, osteoarthritis, and to evaluate for bone spurs. MRI scans may be ordered to rule out rotator cuff tears.

Treatment of impingement consists of an initial trial of rest, icing, and anti-inflammatory medications.  Physical therapy is often prescribed, especially if there is range of motion or strength concerns.  If these methods do not provide relief, a cortisone injection may be performed.  Occasionally, surgical intervention is pursued to decompress the shoulder. 

Without treatment, impingement syndrome can get progressively worse.  If you are having persistent shoulder pain, then consult your orthopedic physician.

Dr. Al DeSimone (954) 389-5900