Shoulder Impingement

The Shoulder Center
at Modern Orthopedics of New Jersey

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Paramus, NJ 07652


2025 Hamburg Turnpike
STE C, Wayne, NJ 07470


3799 US-46
#207, Parsippany, NJ 07054

If you are experiencing ongoing or worsening shoulder pain, shoulder impingement syndrome may be the root cause. Believed to account for 44-64% of all shoulder pain complaints, this condition can be effectively treated multiple ways including possible surgery if all else fails. Learn more here about the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for shoulder impingement:

What Is Shoulder Impingement?

Shoulder impingement describes a condition where the rotator cuff, a group of muscles that originates in the shoulder blade and attaches to the humerus (arm bone), becomes irritated and inflamed from rubbing against the acromion (the top outer edge of the shoulder blade).

The more irritated the muscles of the rotator cuff become, the more likely they are to be pinched (or impinged) under the acromion or even between the acromion and humerus. This results in more inflammation, pain, and reduced range of motion. The condition is a vicious cycle.

Anatomy of the Shoulder Joint

As one of the most freely moveable areas in the body, the shoulder joint is highly complex. It is made up of three main bones–the scapula (shoulder blade), clavicle (collar bone), and humerus (upper arm bone)—which are held together with muscles and ligaments. The rotator cuff muscles pass between a small space formed by the acromion of the scapula and humerus. When it rubs against these two bones or is pinched between them, shoulder impingement syndrome can occur.

Common Symptoms of Shoulder Impingement

Many different symptoms can indicate the presence of shoulder impingement. These may include:

  • Pain when lifting or extending arms above head or reaching behind back
  • Pain at night, particularly when lying on the affected side
  • Tenderness when touching the front of the shoulder
  • Shoulder and arm weakness
  • Shoulder and arm stiffness
  • Limited range of motion

Diagnostic Tests for Shoulder Impingement

Diagnosis of shoulder impingement typically begins with a detailed medical history and physical examination to test pain and range of motion. Your orthopedic surgeon may also order further diagnostic imaging tests such as an X-ray, ultrasound, or MRI.

Consult With a New Jersey-Based Orthopedic Specialist Today

Experiencing ongoing shoulder pain that is impacting your quality of life? A Modern Orthopaedics of New Jersey surgeon can help create a treatment plan that will put you on the road to recovery.

Treatment Options for Shoulder Impingement

Shoulder impingement is often treated non-surgically, but surgery is also an option in severe cases.

Nonsurgical Treatment

Nonsurgical treatment options for shoulder impingement include resting, lifestyle modifications, icing, oral medications, physical therapy and, sometimes, cortisone injections.

Surgical Treatment

If your pain is severe or your symptoms are not reduced with nonsurgical treatment options, shoulder impingement surgery may be the next course of action. Subacromial decompression removes a portion of the acromion to enlarge the amount of space around the rotator cuff muscles. Open surgery is one possible route, but the procedure can usually be performed arthroscopically (with the use of specialized surgical tools inserted through small incisions).

Frequently Asked Questions

What Causes Shoulder Impingement?

Shoulder impingement can be caused due to overuse (repetitive shoulder activity), injury, age, inflammation of the bursa, or the development of bone spurs on the acromion. It is common in athletes whose sports demand overhead rotational motions (swimming, baseball, volleyball, tennis) as well as painters and window washers.

What Are the Non-Surgical Treatment Options for Shoulder Impingement?

Common nonsurgical treatments for shoulder impingement include rest, ice, pain relief, and steroid injections.

What Is the Recovery Process Like After Surgical Treatment for Shoulder Impingement?

Recovery after shoulder impingement surgery usually takes between 2 to 4 months and the rehabilitation process and outcomes are greatly enhanced by physical therapy. Talk directly with your orthopedic surgeon for specifics.

What Are the Potential Complications of Untreated Shoulder Impingement?

Untreated shoulder impingement can become increasingly severe, ultimately impacting your quality of life in negative ways. Exploring treatment options is highly recommended.

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Hand, Wrist, Shoulder & Elbow Surgeon

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Hand, Wrist, Shoulder & Elbow Surgeon

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Hand, Wrist, Shoulder & Elbow Surgeon

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Modern Orthopaedics specializes in conditions and treatments of the shoulder, elbow, hand/wrist, hip, knee and foot/ankle with locations in Wayne, Parsippany, and Paramus, NJ.


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