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The Connection Between Inflammatory Conditions and Shoulder Impingement Los Angeles, CA
woman with her shoulder sprain

Shoulder impingement syndrome is a common condition that can cause significant pain and limited mobility in the shoulder joint. This condition often arises from underlying inflammatory issues such as bursitis and tendonitis. Understanding the relationship between these inflammatory conditions and shoulder impingement is crucial for effective diagnosis and treatment. At Robotic Hip and Knee Replacement LA, we offer comprehensive care and advanced treatment options to help patients overcome shoulder impingement and regain optimal function.

What Is Shoulder Impingement?

Shoulder impingement occurs when the tendons of the rotator cuff and the bursa (a fluid-filled sac that reduces friction) become compressed between the bones of the shoulder joint, specifically the acromion (a part of the scapula) and the humeral head. This compression can lead to pain, inflammation and reduced range of motion. The condition is often exacerbated by repetitive overhead activities, poor posture, or anatomical abnormalities that decrease the space within the shoulder joint. Bursitis and tendonitis are the most common inflammatory conditions that result in shoulder impingement.

Bursitis is the inflammation of the bursa, a small sac that provides cushioning and reduces friction between the bones and tendons in the shoulder. When the bursa becomes inflamed, it can swell and take up more space within the shoulder joint. This swelling can lead to increased pressure on the rotator cuff tendons, causing impingement. Bursitis is commonly caused by repetitive motions, prolonged pressure, or direct trauma to the shoulder.

Tendonitis refers to the inflammation of the tendons, particularly those of the rotator cuff muscles in the shoulder. The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles that stabilize the shoulder joint and facilitate its movement. When these tendons become irritated or inflamed, often due to overuse or repetitive strain, they can swell and reduce the available space within the shoulder joint, leading to impingement. Tendonitis can also result from acute injuries or degenerative changes in the tendons.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

The symptoms of shoulder impingement can vary but typically include the following:

  • Persistent pain in the shoulder, particularly when lifting the arm overhead.
  • Pain that radiates from the front of the shoulder to the side of the arm.
  • Weakness in the shoulder or difficulty performing daily activities.
  • Limited range of motion and a feeling of stiffness.
  • Swelling or tenderness in the shoulder joint.

Diagnosis of shoulder impingement involves a thorough physical examination and imaging studies such as X-rays, ultrasound, or MRI to assess the extent of inflammation and identify any structural abnormalities.

Treatment Options

Effective treatment for shoulder impingement focuses on reducing inflammation, relieving pain, and restoring shoulder function. At Robotic Hip and Knee Replacement LA, we offer a range of treatment options tailored to each patient’s needs:

  • Conservative Treatments: Initial management often includes rest, ice application, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce pain and inflammation. Physical therapy is crucial for improving shoulder strength, flexibility, and posture, which can help alleviate impingement symptoms.
  • Corticosteroid Injections: For more severe inflammation, corticosteroid injections can provide significant relief by reducing swelling and pain in the affected area. These injections can be administered directly into the bursa or around the tendons.
  • Minimally Invasive Surgery: If conservative treatments are ineffective, minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery may be recommended. This procedure involves using small instruments and a camera to remove inflamed tissue, bone spurs, or other structures causing impingement. Compared to traditional open surgery, arthroscopic surgery typically results in quicker recovery times and less post-operative pain.

Inflammatory conditions such as bursitis and tendonitis are key contributors to shoulder impingement, causing pain and limiting mobility. Understanding the connection between these conditions and shoulder impingement is essential for effective treatment. At Robotic Hip and Knee Replacement LA, Dr. Frederick F. Buechel, Jr. and our team provide comprehensive care, from conservative management to advanced minimally invasive surgeries, to help patients achieve relief and restore shoulder function. If you are experiencing symptoms of shoulder impingement, contact us at our clinic in Los Angeles to schedule a consultation and explore your treatment options.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Farzin Kabaei, MD

8436 West 3rd Street Suite 800
Los Angeles, CA 90048

Phone: (310) 792-9300


Mon - Fri 8AM - 5PM

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