Shoulder Impingement

What is Shoulder Impingement?

Impingement refers to mechanical compression and/or wear of the rotator cuff tendons. The rotator cuff is actually a series of four muscles connecting the scapula (shoulder blade) to the humeral head (upper part of the shoulder joint.) The rotator cuff is important in maintaining the humeral head within the glenoid (socket) during normal shoulder function and also contributes to shoulder strength during activity. Normally, the rotator cuff glides smoothly between the undersurface of the acromion and the humeral head.

How is Shoulder Impingement Treated?

The first step in treating shoulder impingement is eliminating any identifiable cause or contributing factor. This may mean temporarily avoiding activities like tennis, pitching or swimming. A The mainstay of treatment involves exercises to restore normal flexibility and strength to the shoulder girdle, including strengthening both the rotator cuff muscles and the muscles responsible for normal movement of the shoulder blade. This program of instruction and exercise demonstration may be initiated and carried out either by the doctor or a skilled physical therapist.

Source: American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine