Impingement Syndrome

Impingement Syndrome


Impingement syndrome, also referred to as swimmer’s shoulder, is a condition in which the tendons of the rotator cuff become impinged as they pass through the narrow subacromial space. With repetitive motion, such as the rotation of a swimmer’s arm, the tendons can become irritated and inflamed. Symptoms of impingement syndrome include difficulty reaching behind the back, discomfort reaching overhead and muscular weakness. Impingement syndrome is not a diagnosed condition, but a clinical sign associated with other conditions including:

  • Bone spurs
  • Rotator cuff tendonitis or tear
  • Shoulder instability
  • Biceps tendinopathy
  • Scapula dysfunction

Treatment Options:


Genesis Orthopedics & Sports Medicine uses cortisone injections for reducing pain and inflammation for an array of joint injuries. In certain injuries that are solely inflammation based, such as tendonitis, cortisone injections can act as a cure but with injuries that involve tearing of tendons, cortisone injections may decrease the pain but not cure the tear.

Physical Therapy

Consult Genesis Orthopedics & Sports Medicine for a recommended physical therapy plan. Therapy is conducted with the goal of decreasing the injury’s pain, restoring the shoulder’s range of motion, and helping it gradually regain strength.


Subacromial decompression surgery is typically used for impingement syndrome in conjunction with a rotator cuff injury. Subacromial decompression surgery is used after physical therapy and all other non-surgical treatment options have had zero to minimal effect. Subacromial decompression is an arthroscopic procedure in which the inflamed bursa is removed creating more room for the rotator cuff.

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