What is the Shoulder Impingement Zone?

Shoulder Impingement Syndrome

Your Shoulder Impingement Zone is where your shoulder tendons and brusa are most likely to impingement against the (acromion) bone as it moves.
The shoulder impingement zone is the most likely area when injuries to your rotator cuff or shoulder bursa occurs, due to the narrowing of the sub-acromial (space below the acromion) during this shoulder position.

Postures that significantly narrow the sub-acromial space are:

  • Your arm working at or near shoulder height.
  • Your arm directly overhead.

Injuries that result fall under the Shoulder Impingement Syndrome group of injuries.

Who Suffers Shoulder Impingement Syndrome?

Shoulder Impingement Syndrome is more likely to occur in people who engage in physical activities that require repeated overhead arm movements, such as tennis, golf, swimming, weight lifting, or throwing a ball. Occupations that requires repeated overhead lifting or work at or above shoulder height are also at risk of rotator cuff impingement.

What are the Symptoms of Shoulder Rotator Cuff Impingement?

Commonly rotator cuff impingement has the following symptoms:

  • An arc of shoulder pain approximately when your arm is at shoulder height and/or when your arm is overhead.
  • Shoulder pain that can extend from the top of the shoulder to the elbow.
  • Pain when lying on the sore shoulder.
  • Shoulder pain at rest as your condition deteriorates.
  • Muscle weakness or pain when attempting to reach or lift.
  • Pain when putting your hand behind you back or head.
  • Pain reaching for the seat-belt.

How is Shoulder Impingement Syndrome Diagnosed?

In most cases, a thorough clinical examination will identify a rotator cuff impingement. Your physiotherapist will ask about your shoulder pain and its behaviour plus examine your shoulder with some specific tests that identify impingement signs.

Diagnostic tests may include X-rays, MRI or ultrasound scans to look for tears in the rotator cuff or signs of bursitis.

Shoulder pain can commonly be caused by a problem with your neck joints. Your physiotherapist will examine this area to rule out this cause or include its treatment in your care plan.

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