Shoulder Impingement and Bursitis

What is Shoulder Impingement and Bursitis?

One of the more common causes of shoulder pain is shoulder impingement, also called impingement syndrome or bursitis. It occurs when the tendon and bursa (fluid-filled sac) between the bones of the shoulder is pinched, causing inflammation. This can happen if the rotator cuff rubs against the top of the shoulder blade. The resulting inflammation causes a thickening of the tendons and bursa, which makes the problem worse, causing shoulder impingement and bursitis. The irritation and inflammation can continue in a painful cycle which causes more thickening of the tendons and bursa, in turn, causing less space in the shoulder and more pain. The specialists at The Shoulder Clinic of Idaho, serving patients in Boise, Meridian, Nampa, and the surrounding communities of the Treasure Valley are skilled at diagnosing and treating patients with shoulder impingement and bursitis.

What causes shoulder impingement and bursitis?

Impingement syndrome and bursitis may be caused by chronic overuse. Repetitive lifting, or activities overhead, may increase the susceptibility to injury. Often, an initial injury may cause the bursa and tendon to become inflamed. As this tissue thickens and takes up more space in the shoulder, mechanical symptoms can occur causing rubbing, pinching, grinding, catching and pain. Workers and athletes, especially those involved in repetitive over-head activities on a sustained basis, like swimmers, gymnasts and baseball pitchers, may be more susceptible to symptoms from shoulder impingement and bursitis.

What are the symptoms of bursitis and shoulder impingement?

The most common complaint of shoulder impingement and bursitis is pain when lifting the arm above the shoulder or rotating it backward. Other symptoms include:

  • Dull, minor ache that is constant in the arm or shoulder.
  • Pain which can radiate from the shoulder to the side of the arm or elbow.
  • Pain that worsens at night, especially while sleeping.
  • Weakness in the shoulder and/or arm.
  • Grinding in the shoulder.
  • Stiffness in the shoulder may develop as a result of the above symptoms.

Are you experiencing shoulder impingement symptoms?

There are two ways to initiate a consultation with the Shoulder Clinic of Boise:

You can provide current X-rays and/or MRIs for a clinical case review with our team.

You can schedule an office consultation with our team.

Request Case Review or Office Consultation

How to Diagnosed Shoulder Impingement?

The condition of shoulder impingement and bursitis can get worse on its own, causing more pain over time. Patients who believe they may be experiencing shoulder impingement syndrome should seek medical advice promptly to avoid further damage. When treated early, the physicians at The Shoulder Clinic of Idaho can help patients minimize swelling and continued discomfort. Shoulder impingement and bursitis can be easily diagnosed by a history and physical examination, and may require an X-ray or MRI scan to rule out other possible injuries.

How is Shoulder Impingement Treated?

Non-Surgical Approach:

Treatment for bursitis and shoulder impingement is usually successful with conservative methods. Rest, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), and discontinuing use of the injured shoulder for a period of time can help minimize the inflammation of the injury. Some patients find relief by receiving a cortisone injection given at The Shoulder Clinic of Idaho, which will decrease inflammation and allow for healing. Physical therapy will often be recommended to help strengthen the muscles and tendons of the shoulder joint.

Surgical Approach:

On rare occasion, or if the more conservative methods of treating shoulder impingent and bursitis do not eliminate shoulder pain; the specialists at The Shoulder Clinic of Idaho may recommend arthroscopic surgery.  Arthroscopic surgery is a minimally invasive surgical procedure which uses a small camera and special surgical instruments. These are used to see inside the shoulder, and to find tears or bone spurs that may be contributing to the persistence of shoulder pain. Any irregularities are removed and repaired, allowing the tendons to avoid being pinched and giving the bursa room to cushion without impingement. This type of surgery allows for more rapid healing and a quick return to normal activities.  Any time shoulder pain related to impingement or bursitis persists, a thorough evaluation should be performed by a shoulder specialist to make sure the persistence of pain is not due to a rotator cuff tendon tear.  The specialists at The Shoulder Clinic of Idaho have experience in evaluating and treating patients with impingement and bursitis and can help patients in Boise, Meridian, Nampa and the surrounding communities of the Treasure Valley.

For more information on shoulder impingement and bursitis, or to see a shoulder specialist, please contact The Shoulder Clinic of Idaho, serving Boise, Meridian, Nampa, and the surrounding communities of the Treasure Valley.

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