What is Shoulder Impingement?
Shoulder pain is a common complaint in Dr. Matthew Provencher’s orthopedic office, shoulder specialist serving the communities of Vail, Aspen, Colorado Springs and Denver, Colorado. Shoulder impingement is an extremely common cause of joint pain and may occur with no apparent cause. Shoulder impingement refers to pinching, or impingement, of the rotator cuff tendons. Ongoing tendon impingement causes patients to experience swelling, inflammation, and pain within the shoulder joint.
Since the shoulder is the most mobile joint in the human body, it is prone to a variety of injuries, such as shoulder impingement. The condition is caused when a rotator cuff tendon becomes damaged as it glides against the ligaments and bones within the shoulder. Athletes, especially swimmers, are at an elevated risk of this shoulder condition. Certain athletes may even develop bone spurs under the acromion, the flat bone located at the top of the shoulder blade, leading to severe impingement, and chronic shoulder pain.
Age is believed to contribute to shoulder impingement in some patients since bone spurs naturally develop as the body ages.
What are Shoulder Impingement Symptoms?
The most common symptom associated with this condition is shoulder pain. The pain may be present while performing everyday activities, such as getting dressed or sleeping, and is typically located over the front of the shoulder, and on the outside of the upper arm. Certain patients may also experience shoulder weakness and a grinding sensation.
How to know you have Shoulder Impingement
Patients are encouraged to report shoulder pain over the front of the shoulder and outside of the upper arm as quickly as possible. Inflammation associated with shoulder impingement intensifies rapidly and can mask true injury symptoms if left untreated. Dr. Provencher will perform a thorough physical examination and perform diagnostic tests to diagnose the shoulder condition and rule out other injuries.