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What is a shoulder impingement?

Shoulder Impingement is the most common shoulder problem and happens when the rotator cuff tendons get trapped in the shoulder joint causing pain, weakness and loss of function.

Effective treatment can help restore range of motion.Above: Effective treatment can help restore range of motion.

What causes shoulder impingement?

Shoulder impingement may be caused by a variety of factors such as:
  • Overuse causing irritation of the structures in the shoulder joint. This is a common injury in swimmers, throwers, racket players and sports people who make repetitive movements with their arms above their shoulders.
  • A trauma such as an accident or a fall
  • Shoulder instability including rotator cuff weakness or capsule laxity
  • Bony anatomical factors such as bone spurs caused by wear and tear of the joint between the collarbone and the scapula, called the acromioclavicular (AC) joint.
  • Poor posture

Effective treatment can help restore range of motion.Above: Effective treatment can help restore range of motion.

Diagnosis of shoulder impingement

A diagnosis of shoulder impingement can be made by a physiotherpaist or doctor. Your physiotherpaist or doctor will ask you detailed questions about your activities and conduct a thorough assesment to confirm a diagnosis.

What are the effects/symptoms of shoulder impingement?

Symptoms of shoulder impingement include:
  • Pain in the shoulder when the arm is lifted above the shoulder, forwards and upwards.
  • Swelling in the shoulder area
  • Difficulty rolling onto the affected shoulder or sleeping on it.

Physiotherapy for shoulder impingement

Physiotherapy treatment at Manchester Physio will improve the strength in the muscles of the rotator cuff to help control the stability of the shoulder joint and decrease impingement of the rotator cuff tendons.

At Manchester Physio, your physiotherapist will create an individualised exercise program of restore range, strength, stability for your shoulder and rotator cuff which may include:
  • Stretching exercises to relieve pain and stiffness
  • Progressive muscle strengthening program which may include closed chained exercises, strengthening exercises through range and core stability exercises. Some of the exercises will be designed to get your shoulder working in ways that are similar to your work tasks and sport activities
  • Postural advice
  • Advice about how to avoid future problems and return to activity safely and effectively
Your physiotherapist at Manchester Physio will guide you through a program suited to you so that you make a full recovery.

For more information about physiotherapy for shoulder impingement, or to book an appointment please call 0161 883 0077.

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