Shoulder Impingement


Shoulder impingement is one of the most common causes of shoulder pain. It occurs when there is compression and irritation of tendons or/and the bursa (a fluid filled sac) in the shoulder. When you lift overhead the space between the shoulder blade and rotator cuff narrows- with repetitions or poor posture- the tendon and bursa can get irritated. This most frequently occurs as a result of overuse of overhead activity and/or poor posture. The pain can occur during everyday activities including reaching behind your back or reaching overhead.


Most common with both competitive to recreational activities who perform activities overhead like swimming, basketball, or tennis. Additionally, those who lift, hang, or paint frequently are suspectible. At times it follows injuries and other times there is no apparent cause.

Signs and Symptoms:

• Pain with reaching behind the back and reaching overhead
• Minimal pain levels with both activity and rest
• Pain radiating from the front of the shoulder to the side of the arm
With increase in time
• Possible weakness of shoulder musculature
• Pain at night

How can I prevent this?

By working on posture, strength surrounding the shoulder blades, and appropriate rotator cuff activation, shoulder impingement can be avoided. Being aware of the volume of overhead activities will allow you to modify as needed in order to avoid overuse.