Shoulder impingement syndrome

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What is it?

When we raise our arm, there are certain tendons, ligaments, and bursa (fluid-filled sacs) that glide underneath the bone in our shoulder. 

Shoulder impingement syndrome is what happens when the tendon is trapped in the space and repeatedly rubs against the bone in your shoulder, which then results in inflammation. The  combination of pain and weakness when you raise your arm due to this. 

It can be due to muscle imbalances over time, trauma due to falls, or even from lifting up something heavy suddenly.


What can be done?
Shoulder conditions can be very tricky to diagnose and manage as it is an extremely mobile joint. What is most important is the strengthening of muscles around the shoulder to increase strength of the affected tendon and to create more efficient movement that doesn’t pinch on the tendon. Soft tissue therapy and ESWT will often also be used to improve tendon healing. If movements are very painful, taping to rest stressed muscles or assist shoulder movements may be done.


Can this be prevented?
Knowing what structure is being impinged means providing specific treatment and understanding what activities need to be loaded progressively to prevent flare-ups in the future.


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