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Shoulder Impingement: All we need to know


Shoulder Impingement is the common cause of pain in the shoulders. It occurs when there is an impingement in tendons to the bones of the shoulders.

India experiences more than 1 million cases per year of shoulder impingement. [1]

Also known as: Impingement syndrome
Common in: Swimmers and athletes who use their shoulders a lo such as baseball players

- Not self-treatable
- Not self-diagnosable
- Lab tests or imaging are rarely required
- Medium-term: resolves within weeks to months


Shoulder Impingement is usually caused by inflammation due to overuse of shoulders. Repeated use of shoulders can make tendons to swell.

Other possible causes: Old age and previous shoulder injuries such as dislocation can also lead to shoulder impingement

People at risk:

- Players: People playing sports such as baseball, tennis and swimming etc.
- Occupations: Work that requires heavy lifting such as construction work and painting etc.


- Sudden pain on lifting arms overhead or backward
- Constant but minor pain
- Pain getting worse at night
- Pain that gets worse with lifting weights and movements
- Arm and shoulder weakness

People may experience: Limited range of motion or loss of muscle
Also common: Tenderness and joint stiffness


Take rest as suggested by the doctor. Avoid heavy exercises and movements that may worsen pain. Do not make repetitive use of the shoulders; this may increase stiffness. Apply an ice pack for 10-15 minutes to relieve pain.

Take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs as per prescription. Steroid injections may also be recommended. Shoulder impingement responds well to physical therapy which includes light exercises to rebuild strength and range of motion. The doctor may refer to contact a physiotherapist.

If other treatments don’t work well, the patient may have to undergo a surgery in order to widen the rotator cuff.

For further concerns, contact a doctor or an orthopaedist. At mfine, you will receive a holistic treatment plan for optimum health.

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