What Is Shoulder Impingement Syndrome?

When the rotator cuff is injured, it swells. As pressure in the tendon increases, compression and loss of blood flow in the capillaries can occur. This often causes the tendon tissue to begin fraying or tearing. Known as shoulder impingement syndrome, this sequence of events is one of the most common underlying conditions behind chronic shoulder pain.


Shoulder impingement syndrome can be set into motion by a number of factors. Overhead, repeated activities involving the shoulder can cause shoulder impingement syndrome. This includes activities such as:

  • Painting
  • Weight-lifting
  • Swimming – In fact, “swimmer’s shoulder” is often used as an interchangeable name for shoulder impingement syndrome
  • Tennis
  • Golf
  • Volleyball

These activities often lead to shoulder impingement syndrome as strain is regularly placed upon the rotator cuff. Bone and joint abnormalities may also lead to shoulder impingement syndrome.


Unlike many other types of shoulder injury, shoulder impingement syndrome causes persistent pain that can severely interfere with your everyday routine. Normal motions that include stretching and reaching may cause intense pain and discomfort. Symptoms of shoulder impingement syndrome include:

  • Consistent pain that worsens with specific motions
  • Difficulty reaching up behind the back
  • Discomfort with the overhead use of the arm
  • A noted weakness of shoulder muscles

The OrthoCARE Treatment Approach

Obtaining timely treatment for shoulder impingement syndrome will reduce the risk of further pain and more serious injuries, such as a rotator cuff tear. Many patients suffering from shoulder impingement syndrome are able to restore their range of motion and eliminate discomfort. At OrthoCARE Institute, a division of the physician-owned, vertically-integrated Lumin Health system, our team of orthopedic surgeons will design a shoulder impingement syndrome treatment plan tailored to your unique needs and health history.

If your shoulder impingement syndrome is not fully developed, anti-inflammatory medications may be recommended in combination with a daily stretching routine or physical therapy. If conservative treatments are found to be ineffective, advanced pain management techniques or minimally invasive surgery may be advised.

Minimally invasive surgery yields many benefits when compared to traditional open surgery, including:

  • Shorter recovery times and hospital stays
  • Lower volume of blood loss
  • Reduced likelihood of trauma to surrounding areas
  • Minimized chance of scarring

For more information about shoulder impingement syndrome, OrthoCARE Institute or our minimally invasive techniques, call us directly at 972-255-5588 or fill out the form on our Contact Us page. We are committed to helping our patients stay active, pain-free and healthy!

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