The shoulder is an essential part of the human body. We use it in many day-to-day activities. This repetitive use, however, makes it vulnerable to injuries such as impingement. Our team of experts at Missouri Orthopedics & Advanced Sports Medicine have created this guide to help our patients understand shoulder impingement.


Shoulder impingement is when a tendon of the rotator cuff rubs against the shoulder blade, which leads to inflammation, causing pain in the shoulder. The impingement is also known as “swimmer’s shoulder” as it is common in swimmers.


The main signs you should look out for are:

  • Pain when raising or moving your arm
  • Feelings of stiffness or achiness in the shoulder when at rest
  • Swelling of the shoulder, usually in the front


This condition may occur for many reasons, including:

  • Overuse of the shoulder – Repetitive upward movement of the arm, especially in sports, increases the risk of the condition.
  • Aging – While aging doesn’t guarantee impingement, the risk is higher than in younger bodies due to normal wear and tear.
  • Injury – Injuries such as shoulder dislocation can cause impingement.

Treatment options

Many shoulder impingement treatment options are available. Some of the standard ones are:

  • Physical therapy – This method involves stretching and strengthening exercises to restore the shoulder’s functioning.
  • Medication – This treatment option uses nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce the pain and swelling.
  • Rest – Avoiding excessive arm movement of the affected shoulder also relieves the pain and gives it time to heal.
  • In severe cases, your doctor may recommend surgery.

If you or a loved one are experiencing shoulder pain, don’t wait to seek medical care. The sooner shoulder impingement is diagnosed and treated, the less damage to the shoulder tendon. Our expert care team at Missouri Orthopedics & Advanced Sports Medicine is ready to help you live a pain-free life and get back to your normal activities faster. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced providers at any of our three area locations.