Shoulder Impingement

Shoulder Impingement Overview

Shoulder impingement occurs when the shoulder bones impinge or press on the rotator cuff tendons. Because the rotator cuff helps move and stabilize the shoulder, shoulder impingement and associated symptoms can be problematic. Mild cases can be uncomfortable, aggravating and annoying. Moderate and severe cases can make day-to-day living activities difficult or impossible. Early diagnosis and treatment are always best—symptoms are reduced and the shoulder impingement is treated before it gets worse.

Symptoms & Causes

Shoulder impingement symptoms include:

  • Difficulty raising the arm
  • Difficulty rotating the shoulder
  • Shoulder Pain
  • Radiating pain
  • Stiffness

Movements and activities that involve raising the arm above the head and moving the arm behind the back becoming increasing difficulty to perform if shoulder impingement is not treated.

Common shoulder impingement causes include:

  • Bone spurs
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Overuse
  • Repetitive overhead lifting
  • Throwing sports

Common Treatments:

Nonsurgical treatment options decrease inflammation and pain. After a thorough evaluation, a CONA shoulder specialist may recommend:

  • Activity modification
  • Immobilization
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs)
  • Rest and ice

Surgery may be recommended to treat severe shoulder impingement. A CONA specialist carefully removes bone that presses against the rotator cuff tendons.


A CONA specialist asks the patient questions about their symptoms and carefully listens to responses. A physical examination is performed and x-rays are taken to access impingement severity. An accurate diagnosis is made and an effective treatment plan is prescribed.

Meet Our Awarded Specialists