Rotator cuff impingement is the pinching or compression of your rotator cuff tendons under the acromion and coracoacromial arch, which may eventually lead to degeneration, and tearing of your rotator cuff tendon.

The rotator cuff is made of 4 muscles:

  • Suprapinatus
  • Infraspinatus
  • Subscapularis
  • Teres Minor

Rotator cuff tears are more common in the older population, however impingements are commonly seen in athletes and those who work in jobs that require overhead activities.

Signs and Symptoms:

  • Gradual onset of shoulder pain with overhead activities is suggestive of impingement pathology.
  • Sudden onset of sharp pain in the shoulders
  • Pain is usually located over the shoulder on the lateral, superior and anterior aspects.
  • Pain occurs when sleeping on the injured shoulder, daily activities that require arms to be higher than shoulder height e.g. washing hair, combing hair, hanging laundry etc.
  • Pain on shoulder movements and decrease in shoulder range of motion.
  • Muscle weakness
  • Shoulder instability

Physiotherapy for Rotator Cuff Impingement/Degeneration may involve:

  • Addressing posture – looking at your rib, shoulder and neck alignment
  • Soft tissue releases
  • Stretches
  • Exercise prescription to improve strength, range and stability
  • Postural taping
  • Heat or ice therapy
  • Dry needling