Subacromial impingement

  • About subacromial impingement

    The rotator cuff is a group of muscles, which wrap closely around the shoulder joint. They function to keep the joint in the correct position and control shoulder and arm movements. The muscles attach from the shoulder blade to the top of the arm bone by the rotator cuff tendons. The tendon runs beneath an arch made up of bone and a ligament.

    Spurs of bone or thickening of the ligament may develop over time and cause rubbing of the tendon and thickening/scarring of the tendon covering (bursa). This causes a painful condition that is called Impingement Syndrome or Subacromial Impingement.

    If you think you may have shoulder Impingement syndrome, call The Cheshire Shoulder and Elbow Clinic and have a comprehensive assessment of your shoulder condition.

  • Symptoms of subacromial impingement

    The pain often is felt over the point of the shoulder and upper arm radiating towards the lower arm or sometimes the elbow. Pain in the shoulder is commonly worsened by reaching up to a high shelf or putting the affected arm into the sleeve of clothing. This may be severe. It may also cause pain that is particularly noticeable at night even when not moving the arm.

  • Treatment of subacromial impingement

    Pain killers and anti-inflammatory medication may help reduce pain. Physiotherapy can help to strengthen the rotator cuff muscles and, by reducing rubbing, improve symptoms. An anti-inflammatory steroid injection on to the surface of the tendon can help reduce inflammation and help reduce pain but needs to be combined with physiotherapy to allow a lasting resolution to symptoms.

    Surgery may be necessary if other treatments fail. Keyhole (arthroscopic) surgery is performed to remove the bone spurs and inflamed bursa and to release the ligament over the tendon that is causing painful rubbing. This is called a subacromial decompression. This is performed as a daycase operation (come into hospital on the day of surgery and go home the same day).

    If you think you have subacromial impingement in your shoulder and would like a comprehensive assessment of your shoulder and symptoms then call The Cheshire Shoulder and Elbow Clinic for an appointment. We can arrange appropriate treatment for your individual circumstances.