An Overview on Shoulder Impingement
One of the most common complaints in shoulder specialist Dr. Nikhil Verma’s orthopedic office is shoulder pain. The shoulder is the most mobile joint in the body and an injury to the joint can be debilitating, including shoulder impingement. Shoulder impingement is an injury that refers to the impingement (pinching) of the tendons of the rotator cuff. The repetitive, ongoing pinching leads to inflammation, swelling and pain in the shoulder. Swimmers in the Chicago, Westchester, Oak Brook and Hinsdale, Illinois area are at an elevated risk of this injury, causing the condition to also be called “swimmer’s shoulder.”
Shoulder impingement is quite common and can occur with no apparent cause. The condition occurs when the tendons of the shoulder joint (rotator cuff) are damaged as they glide against the bones and ligaments of the shoulder joint. Swimmers and other athletes are prone to “swimmer’s shoulder” since this injury is often caused by chronic overuse resulting in bone spurs. Age may also be a contributing factor to this injury since bone spurs tend to develop as a patient ages. Irritation of the tendon and subacromial bursitis is also associated with this condition.
Symptoms of Shoulder Impingement
The most common complaint of shoulder impingement is pain. The pain will be felt over the front of the shoulder and outside of the upper arm, often intensifying at night leading to loss of sleep. Other common symptoms of this shoulder injury include pain with overhead activity, shoulder weakness and shoulder grinding.
Diagnosis of Shoulder Impingement
Patients, including swimmers and other athletes, are advised to report shoulder pain as quickly as possible. The sooner a patient reports pain, the least amount of inflammation will develop and mask the true injury symptoms. Shoulder impingement can be diagnosed by a physical examination. An MRI and X-ray may also be used to rule out other possible shoulder injuries.