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Shoulder Pain from Rotator Cuff Impingement


Rotator cuff impingement is a term that might sound complex, but it’s a condition that many people encounter, especially those involved in sports or repetitive shoulder activities. By understanding what this condition is, its causes, symptoms, and treatment options, you can better manage and prevent this common shoulder ailment.

What is Rotator Cuff Impingement?

Rotator cuff impingement, often simply called shoulder impingement, occurs when the tendons of the rotator cuff become compressed against the bony structure of the shoulder blade, known as the acromion. This compression can lead to pain and limited movement in the shoulder.

Causes of Rotator Cuff Impingement

Understanding the root causes of this condition can help in its prevention and treatment.

Repetitive Overhead Activities

Activities that require frequent overhead motions, such as swimming, tennis, or even certain jobs like construction, can lead to impingement.

Bone Spurs

Bone overgrowths, or spurs, can develop on the underside of the acromion, leading to increased friction and impingement of the rotator cuff tendons.

Weak Shoulder Muscles

Weak or imbalanced shoulder muscles can cause the humerus to sit improperly in the shoulder socket, leading to impingement.

Symptoms to Watch For

Shoulder impingement can manifest in various ways:


Pain, especially during overhead activities, is a hallmark symptom. The pain might also be present when resting or sleeping on the affected side.

Limited Range of Motion

You might find it difficult to raise your arm above your head or move it in certain directions.

Swelling and Tenderness

The affected area may become swollen and tender to the touch.

Treatment Options for Rotator Cuff Impingement

There’s a range of treatments available, from conservative approaches to surgical interventions.

Rest and Ice

Taking a break from activities that exacerbate the pain and applying ice can help reduce inflammation.

Physical Therapy

A physical therapist can guide you through exercises to strengthen the shoulder muscles, improve flexibility, and correct any imbalances.


Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help manage pain and reduce inflammation.


In cases where conservative treatments don’t provide relief, or if there’s significant damage to the tendons, surgery might be recommended.

Experiencing Shoulder Pain? Reach Out to Motion Orthopaedics

Shoulder impingement can be a painful and limiting condition, but with the right care, recovery is possible. If you’re experiencing symptoms or have concerns about your shoulder health, the experts at Motion Orthopaedics are here to help. Contact us today for a comprehensive evaluation and personalized treatment plan.

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