Shoulder impingement takes place when the acromion impinges on or rubs against the rotator cuff beneath it. Acromion is the top outer edge of the shoulders. Impingement can cause irritation and pain. Shoulder impingement syndrome is believed to be the cause of up to 65% of complaints related to pain in the shoulder.
Thomas & Bigler Knee & Shoulder Institute, led by board certified orthopedic surgeons Dr. Steven C. Thomas and Dr. Gregory T. Bigler, provides orthopedic surgery to patients in Las Vegas, Nevada as well as greater Pahrump, Bullhead City, Lake Havasu, and Mesquite, NV.
Development of Shoulder Impingement Syndrome
The rotator cuff swells like a sprained ankle when it is irritated or injured. However, swelling causes other events to take place because the rotator cuff is surrounded by the shoulder bone. Swelling also reduces the amount of space present around the rotator cuff. This leads to the acromion rubbing against the rotator cuff.
And, like a vicious cycle, the amount of space around the rotator cuff is reduced because of swelling, which causes the acromion rubbing action. The rubbing leads to further swelling in the rotator cuff tendons. This narrows the space under the acromion further.
Bone spurs on the acromion bone in some cases can also contribute to impingement. This causes the space where the rotator cuff is present to become even more narrowed.
Shoulder Impingement Causes
Shoulder impingement syndrome is generally seen in athletes involved in sports and similar activities. This is particularly true for individuals involved in overhead rotational motion, such as volleyball, baseball, swimming, and tennis among other things, such as painting and window washing. Shoulder impingement can also occur because of an injury, such as falling on an outstretched arm or on the shoulder.
Treatment of Shoulder Impingement Syndrome
The goal of this treatment is to reduce pain and restore shoulder function. Ice, rest, steroid injections, anti-inflammatory medications, and physical therapy are a few popular treatment options for impingement syndrome.
- Physical therapy is an important treatment option for shoulder impingement syndrome. You would only require 1 – 2 in-office visits in most cases to learn how to perform physical therapy at home. You will learn to improve your shoulder’s range of motion by performing stretching exercises. You can begin strengthening exercises as well as the pain reduces.
- Ice applied on the shoulder for 20 minutes twice daily can help. A bag of frozen corn and peas also works.
- Naproxen or ibuprofen can be used for relieving pain. Stronger prescription strength medication may be required for severe pain.
Surgery is considered when all other options have been tried without any relief. Arthroscopic shoulder decompression or subacromial decompression surgery can create more space in the shoulder for the rotator cuff by removing parts of the acromion. The procedure is performed using arthroscopic technique, which involves small incisions in the shoulder.
Other issues, such as inflammation of the bicep tendon, arthritis, and partial rotator cuff tear can also be repaired at the time of the surgery. Open surgery is another option to consider for severe tears.
Board certified orthopedic surgeons Dr. Thomas and Dr. Bigler receive patients from Las Vegas, Nevada as well as greater Pahrump, Bullhead City, Lake Havasu, and Mesquite, NV for safe and proven orthopedic surgery procedures.
Contact Board Certified Surgeons Dr. Bigler or Dr. Thomas at the Knee and Shoulder Institute in Las Vegas, NV to Schedule an Appointment:
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Serving patients from and around greater Las Vegas, Lake Havasu, Bullhead City, Mesquite, Pahrump, Nevada