Shoulder Impingement Syndrome
What is shoulder impingement syndrome and why might I have it?
Shoulder impingement is commonly seen in athletics that contain a significant amount of overhead activity including tennis, swimming, & volleyball. This condition typically occurs due to repeated stress in the shoulder, specifically at joint angles greater than 90 degrees where the space between the tendons & bony structures of the shoulder is significantly decreased. This decreased joint space leads to the supraspinatus tendon rubbing against the subacromial bursa (see picture above). This rubbing can cause inflammation & a significant amount of pain. If not treated efficiently or in a timely manner, shoulder impingement can lead to a thinning of the rotator cuff musculature & potential tears.
Risk Factors that can predispose someone to impingement syndrome include:
- Acromion Morphologies (changes in the bone above tendon)
- Type 1: Flat
- Type 2: Curved
- Type 3: Hooked
- Poor rhythmic movement between the scapula & our arm
- Shoulder instability
- Rotator cuff weakness
While this condition can be influenced by how we are born or the shape of our joints, proper rotator cuff strengthening & preventative programs can be put into place to decrease the likelihood of this condition occurring. These programs should be used in all sports that include overhead actions, including basketball, baseball, & volleyball.