Shoulder impingement syndrome, also called subacromial impingement, painful arc syndrome, supraspinatus syndrome, swimmer’s shoulder, and thrower’s shoulder, is a clinical syndrome which occurs when the tendons of the rotator cuff muscles become irritated and inflamed as they pass through the subacromial space, the passage beneath the acromion. This can result in pain, weakness and loss of movement at the shoulder.
The rotator cuff muscle tendons pass through a narrow space between the acromion process of the scapula and the head of the humerus. Anything which causes further narrowing of this space can result in impingement syndrome. This can be caused by bony structures such as subacromial spurs (bony projections from the acromion), osteoarthritic spurs on the acromioclavicular joint, and variations in the shape of the acromion.
Thickening or calcification of the coracoacromial ligament can also cause impingement. Loss of function of the rotator cuff muscles, due to injury or loss of strength, may cause the humerus to move superiorly, resulting in impingement. Inflammation and subsequent thickening of the subacromial bursa may also cause impingement.
Shoulder impingement is often treated with surgery, including minimally-invasive arthroscopic surgery.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call us at (405) 418-4500.