Shoulder Impingement - Recovery Tips
Shoulder impingement is a term used to describe problems with the rotator cuff, often commonly referred to as “tendinitis” or “bursitis.” The rotator cuff tendons can get irritated as they rub against the undersurface of the shoulder blade.
More Resources to Get Better
Shoulder impingement is somewhat of a global term to describe problems with the rotator cuff. There are several types of shoulder impingement, and this post focuses on subacromial rotator cuff impingement.
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Frequently Asked Questions on Shoulder Impingement Injuries
- +What is this injury?
-What is this injury?Shoulder impingement is a somewhat global term used to describe problems with the rotator cuff, often commonly referred to as “tendinitis” or “bursitis.” The rotator cuff tendons can get irritated as they rub against the undersurface of the acromion. The bursa between the acromion and the tendons can get inflamed, causing shoulder pain. In addition, there can be some underlying tendinopathy in one of the rotator cuff tendons. The overall constellation of problems creates a very painful shoulder.
- +What are the common treatments?
-What are the common treatments?Often patients can overcome the pain and stiffness from shoulder impingement without undergoing surgery. Physical therapy may be beneficial to improve range of motion and restore normal mechanics of the shoulder. Injections into the shoulder can occasionally be helpful as well. If pain persists for months despite these nonsurgical treatments, a surgeon can perform arthroscopic surgery to debride, or "clean up," the inflamed bursa and remove any bone spurs pressing on the rotator cuff tendons.
- +How long could it take to recover?
-How long could it take to recover?Full recovery requires time to regain full strength, motion and shoulder function. Recovery differs greatly depending on the nature of the treatment needed to fix the problem. Often physical therapy and injections can relieve a patient's pain within weeks. Recovery can take anywhere from a few weeks to six months or more.
- +What should I ask my doctor?
-What should I ask my doctor?It is always a good idea to ask if surgery is necessary and if there are nonsurgical treatment options that can be tried first. If you choose to undergo surgery, understanding what restrictions the surgeon will place after surgery and what you can safely do, such as driving and working, are important. Also ask when you could expect to safely return to your sport or exercise.