Shoulder Impingement

When you raise your arm to shoulder height, the space between the acromion and rotator cuff narrows. The acromion can rub against (or "impinge" on) the tendon and the bursa, causing irritation and pain.

Conservative treatment is the first approach. The goal of treatment is to reduce pain and restore function. In planning your treatment, your doctor will consider your age, activity level, and general health.

  • Rest and avoid overhead activities.
  • Begin taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines.
  • Begin physical therapy including stretching exercises to improve range of motion. Once your pain is improving, your therapist can start you on a strengthening program.
  • Steroid injections into the bursa beneath the acromion can relieve pain.

When nonsurgical treatment does not relieve pain, your doctor may recommend surgery and will discuss those options with you.