Shoulder Impingement

Impingement syndrome occurs when tendons of the rotator cuff muscles and the subacromial bursa (a fluid-filled sac that separates the bones of the shoulder joint) are compressed between the bones of the shoulder.

  • Doing work with the arms outstretched overhead can cause shoulder soreness but does not necessarily cause impingement
  • Shoulder impingement syndrome is only diagnosed when symptoms persist and interfere with normal daily activity.
  • Chronic impingement may lead to bursitis, rotator cuff  inflammation, and, if left untreated, thinning or tearing of the rotator cuff tendons.

Shoulder impingements respond extremely well to Physiotherapy.

Treatment typically includes stretching and strengthening exercises and limiting overhead reaching and positioning. The physiotherapist can also provide modalities of pain relief such as acupuncture and loosen the surrounding areas

The chances of recovering from shoulder impingement are excellent when these treatments are used.


Eliminate lifting and restrict over-the-shoulder positions and reaching until your symptoms have resolved. Avoid overhead reaching, reaching across the chest, lifting, leaning on the elbows, and sleeping directly on the shoulder.

  • Lift objects close to the body
  • Only lift light weights below shoulder level
  • Do sidestroke or breaststroke when swimming
  • Throw balls underhand or sidearm
  • Do not serve overhand in tennis or volleyball
  • Maintain good posture with writing, assembly work, etc.

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