Subacromial tendonitis, also known as subacromial impingement syndrome, is a condition that occurs when the tendons in the rotator cuff muscles, which help stabilize the shoulder joint, become inflamed and irritated. The inflammation can lead to swelling and pain in the affected area, which can limit the person's ability to move their shoulder and arm.
Subacromial tendonitis is commonly caused by repetitive overhead movements or trauma to the shoulder joint. Some of the common causes of subacromial tendonitis include:
Repetitive overhead movements: Activities that require frequent overhead movements, such as throwing a ball, swimming, painting, or lifting weights, can put stress on the rotator cuff tendons and cause subacromial tendonitis.
Trauma: A sudden impact or injury to the shoulder joint, such as a fall or blow, can cause subacromial tendonitis.
Aging: As we age, the tendons in the rotator cuff may become weaker and more prone to injury.
Poor posture: Poor posture or shoulder mechanics, such as hunching over a desk or computer, can cause tension and compression on the rotator cuff tendons.
Shoulder impingement: Shoulder impingement, which occurs when the tendons and bones in the shoulder rub against each other, can cause subacromial tendonitis.
Symptoms of subacromial tendonitis may include pain or tenderness in the shoulder, weakness or stiffness in the affected area, and difficulty moving the arm or performing certain activities, such as reaching overhead or lifting heavy objects. Treatment may include rest, ice, anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, or in severe cases, surgery may be necessary to relieve pressure on the rotator cuff tendons.
The treatment for subacromial tendonitis usually depends on the severity of the condition. In most cases, conservative treatments are effective and may include:
Rest and activity modification: Resting the affected shoulder and avoiding activities that worsen the symptoms is crucial to allow the tendon to heal. Your doctor may also recommend modifying your activities to avoid repetitive overhead movements.
Ice therapy: Applying ice to the affected area can help reduce inflammation and relieve pain. You can apply ice for 15-20 minutes at a time, several times a day.
Pain relief medications: Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen or naproxen can help relieve pain and reduce inflammation.
Physical therapy: Physical therapy may be recommended to improve the strength and flexibility of the shoulder and arm muscles. A physical therapist may also use modalities like ultrasound, heat, or ice to reduce inflammation and pain.
Corticosteroid injections: In some cases, a doctor may recommend a corticosteroid injection to reduce inflammation and pain.
Surgery: Surgery is usually a last resort and is only considered if other treatments have failed to improve symptoms. Surgery may involve removing any bone spurs or other structures that are causing compression of the rotator cuff tendons.