Tag Archives: shoulder

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

How Can I Prevent My Shoulder From Dislocating Again?

Dislocating a shoulder is a traumatic experience. After having it put back in place (or like Mel Gibson, you smack your shoulder into a wall), there is a good chance you will have some questions about what happens next.

After a short period of time in a sling, you will progress to exercises like pulleys, wall climbing for range of motion; and closed grip pull downs, rowing on a machine and shrugs, for shoulder blade strength.

Patients can compensate for loose ligaments by increasing the strength and control of the rotator cuff and shoulder blade muscles. These muscle groups help pull the ball (humeral head) into the shoulder socket (glenoid) and will pull more tightly if they are strong.

Strengthening programs for the rotator cuff include rotation exercises as shown:

Shoulder RTC Ex

Low, or even no resistance, high repetition exercises can teach and rehabilitate the shoulder all it needs to know for a while. It may take 4 months to feel completely normal again.

Exercises that increase coordination of the shoulder are also important. Contact your physical therapist to learn exercises specific to YOUR needs.

Call Paul O’Brian, PT, CSCS at Accelerate Physical Therapy, P.C. in Arvada, Colorado. (303) 421-2210