What is Shoulder Impingement Syndrome?

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We commonly see this problem at CHARM but what is it? First, you need to understand the shoulder anatomy.

The shoulder is an inherently unstable joint, the ball and socket joint of the shoulder has been likened to a basketball trying to stay on a paper plate. It’s job is to get the arm’s hand to where you need it, hence the large ball on a shallow socket. So, the shoulder relies on the joint capsule, rotator cuff tendons and shoulder blade stabilizer muscles for proper movement. There are a lot of moving parts and in many cases, doesn’t take much to disrupt it’s function. In many cases, the cause of impingement syndrome is unknown but it’s thought that overuse, especially activities that involve extensive overhead activities, can be causative.

So what is impingement syndrome? When the muscles of the shoulder, particularly the rotator cuff, gets pinched between the bones of the head of the humerus and the acromion and/or acromioclavicular joint. This can be caused by weak muscles around the shoulder, causing the head of the humerus to rise, narrowing the sub-acromial space and therefore pinching then rotator cuff. This is often seen in combination with some degree of wear and tear about the muscular structures as well as the spur formation at the acromioclavicular joint above, causing even more space narrowing. How do you treat impingement syndrome? Most people respond well to physical therapy (PT), which utilizes specific exercises to rebuild strength, range of motion and retrain the musculature to work properly. In some cases, there may be an inflammatory component, that may require a specialized guided steroid injection into the affected area. Regenerative medicine techniques, such as Prolotherapy and Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is also a consideration for more advanced shoulder problems. Your doctor at CHARM can figure out the right course for you after a thorough evaluation.

 

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