Your rotator cuff is used during many daily activities, which makes it more susceptible to injury or wear and tear. Pain can stem from tendinitis (irritated tendons), bursitis (inflamed bursae) or impingement (acromion rubs against the tendon and bursae in your shoulder).
Shoulder impingement can affect athletes who participate in activities that involve them swinging their arms overhead such as swimming, baseball and tennis. It can also affect those whose occupation involves repetitive lifting or overhead activities like construction or painting. Lastly, shoulder impingement can be the result of a minor injury.
Symptoms likely start out as being fairly mild but can quickly escalate to any of the following:
- Pain during activity and rest
- Radiating pain from the front of the shoulder to the side of the arm
- Sudden pain with lifting and reaching
- Pain when throwing
Without treatment, these symptoms will likely worsen over time to include night pain, loss of strength and motion, difficulty with activities such as buttoning or zipping.
Nonsurgical treatments can typically provide relief from shoulder impingement:
- Anti-inflammatory medications
- Physical therapy
If relief is not achieved through nonsurgical methods, surgery may be recommended, typically a minimally invasive shoulder scope.
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