Of all the joints in the body, your shoulders are the most flexible. And while it’s extremely convenient to be able to reach in any direction, that flexibility also makes the shoulders more susceptible to injury than your other joints.
The expert team at SportsMED Orthopedic Surgery & Spine Center, with four Alabama locations, is here to cover all of your musculoskeletal needs, including shoulder impingement and any other shoulder condition that’s causing you pain and discomfort.
Read on to see if you might be at risk of a shoulder impingement syndrome.
What is shoulder impingement syndrome?
Because of the unique structure of your shoulders — bone surrounds the soft tissues, rather than the other way around — when you suffer a traumatic or overuse injury to your shoulder, it can set off a series of events that all add up to one thing: pain.
Your rotator cuff, the collection of muscles and tendons that helps give your shoulder its wide range of motion, swells up when it’s injured. Because the rotator cuff is sandwiched between bones, that swelling causes pressure to build and can compromise blood flow to the area.
The pain associated with impingement can be severe enough to keep you from sleeping at night. Such pain may also suggest that your tendons are suffering damage, which could result in a rotator cuff tear.
Who is most likely to experience shoulder impingement?
As with so many conditions, you’re more likely to suffer from a shoulder impingement as you get older. Even if you stay active, your tissues lose volume and capability as you age. Previous shoulder injuries also increase your risk.
Shoulder impingement syndrome is also known as swimmer’s shoulder, because it affects those people who regularly engage in sports, like swimming, or jobs, like painting, that require repeated overhead motions.
Other activities that place you at an increased risk of developing a shoulder impingement include:
- Fishing, fly fishing, and active casting
- Baseball, football, and other sports that involve overhand throwing
Additionally, certain types of arthritis can bring on a shoulder impingement because arthritis can narrow the space that your soft tissue has in which to move.
Luckily, there’s good news. Shoulder impingement can be treated with conservative options like rest, physical therapy, and pain management. In more severe cases, we might recommend surgery.
If your shoulder hurts or you’re having trouble lifting your arm, call the shoulder specialists here at SportsMED Orthopedic Surgery & Spine Center. We provide the most accurate diagnosis, the best treatments, and the smoothest recovery possible.
To learn more about shoulder impingement and how we can treat it, contact us at one of our convenient locations in Huntsville, Madison, Athens, and Decatur, Alabama.