Open Accessibility Menu
Hide

Shoulder Impingement Syndrome (Bursitis or Tendonitis)

Shoulder impingement syndrome involves one or a combination of problems, including inflammation of the lubricating sac (bursa) located just over the rotator cuff, a condition called shoulder bursitis; inflammation of the rotator cuff tendons, called shoulder tendonitis; and calcium deposits in tendons caused by wear and tear or injury. A torn rotator cuff is a potential outcome of shoulder impingement.

Causes of Shoulder Impingement (Bursitis or Tendonitis)

Athletes, industrial workers and home maintenance buffs often suffer shoulder pain caused by excessive rubbing or squeezing (impingement) of the rotator cuff and shoulder blade.

  • Shoulder Bursitis: Frequent extension of the arm at high speed (i.e., pitching a baseball) can cause bursitis. Nonsports activities such as painting, hanging wallpaper or drapes or washing windows also can cause it. Medical research shows that the older you get, the more likely you are to develop bursitis.
  • Shoulder Tendonitis: Tendonitis develops over time and is likely to occur when a person whose muscles are not in good condition starts an overly aggressive training program. In younger athletes, the causes of tendonitis are similar to those of bursitis.

Symptoms of Shoulder Impingement, Shoulder Bursitis or Shoulder Tendonitis

Patients frequently try to ignore the first signs of shoulder problems. There is usually no single episode of shoulder distress and, at first, a person may notice only minor pain and a slight loss of strength. A loss of the range of motion, especially the ability to lift the arm overhead, may be ignored for awhile. Symptoms of shoulder bursitis include mild to severe pain and limited movement. An inability to hold the arm in certain positions indicates tendonitis is present. Recurrent episodes of tendonitis may indicate a rotator cuff tear.

Treatment for Shoulder Impingement, Shoulder Bursitis or Shoulder Tendonitis

  • Shoulder Bursitis: Once bursitis is diagnosed, rest is the recommended treatment. If necessary, icepacks can also be prescribed, as well as anti-inflammatory drugs, steroid injections and ultrasound therapy. Some patients require temporary use of a sling. After inflammation subsides, the patient should do shoulder strengthening exercises.
  • Shoulder Tendonitis: Acute tendonitis usually passes if the activity which caused it is avoided long enough to give the shoulder sufficient rest. Later, a patient can gradually resume the activity incorporating gentle heat and prescribed stretching beforehand and icepacks afterward. More severe cases may require anti-inflammatory drugs or a cortisone injection.

With either shoulder bursitis or shoulder tendonitis, severe cases may require surgery.

Related Providers
*Please note that all physicians are listed in random order and search results are refreshed every hour to comply with Stark Law.
Related Testimonials
  • Shoulder Scope With Reconstruction "Thoughtful and thorough. I appreciate being cared for both as a patient and as a person. Thank you for being you!" Provider: Russell S Petrie MD
  • Knee Scope With Reconstruction "The entire team is professional, knowledgeable, courteous and competent." Provider: David S Gazzaniga MD
  • Petrie Shoulder Scope With Reconstruction "Detailed explanation of what was done to repair the injury and available for any follow up questions." Provider: Russell S Petrie MD
  • Shoulder Scope With Reconstruction "The doctor offered conservative options vs. wanting to rush into surgery. He answered my questions and explained the procedure carefully. The care team was professional and genuinely interested in providing good care." Provider: David S Gazzaniga MD
  • Shoulder Scope With Reconstruction "Getting to know Dr. Petrie and his team on a more personal level made my experiences with them so much more enjoyable. They were clear in describing all surgical procedures to me and made me completely understand everything that went on pre-, during, and ..." Provider: Russell S Petrie MD
  • Shoulder Scope With Reconstruction "Dr. Petrie's demeanor is both confident and warm. I trust him fully and believe he is THE BEST in his field! I recommend him unconditionally!" Provider: Russell S Petrie MD
  • Shoulder Scope With Reconstruction "Everyone was kind, informative and professional. Excellent care!" Provider: Russell S Petrie MD
  • Shoulder Replacement "Time in explaining and listening" Provider: Russell S Petrie MD
  • Shoulder Scope With Reconstruction "Love them all. You guys are the best" Provider: David S Gazzaniga MD
  • Shoulder replacement "Dr. Petrie is friendly and polite. Dr. Petrie and his staff are great!" Provider: Russell S Petrie MD
  • Shoulder Scope With Reconstruction "Dr. Petrie took a conservative approach with me at first and didn't rush me to surgery. Once we did get to surgery, he did a great job. I also appreciate the time Dr. Petrie takes with me." Provider: Russell S Petrie MD
  • Shoulder Scope With Reconstruction "Dr Gazzaniga is great. He has great bedside manners, is confident, but not arrogant, and he has a sports background, as a player and a doctor for the NY Jets. His team does a great job of keeping you informed, and comfortable during your whole experience" Provider: David S Gazzaniga MD
Patient Reviews are anonymous and provided through GetWell, a HIPAA compliant patient engagement tool.
Related Videos
Related Locations
  • Newport Orthopedic Institute - Huntington Beach Orthopedics
    19582 Beach Boulevard, Suite 306
    Huntington Beach, CA 92648
    (949) 722-7038
  • Newport Orthopedic Institute - Irvine Orthopedics
    16300 Sand Canyon Ave, Suite 400
    Irvine, CA 92618
    (949) 722-7038
  • Newport Orthopedic Institute - Newport Beach Orthopedics
    22 Corporate Plaza Drive
    Newport Beach, CA 92660
    (949) 722-7038
  • South Orange County Orthopaedics, Inc. - Mission Viejo Orthopedics
    26730 Crown Valley Parkway, Suite 200
    Mission Viejo, CA 92691
    (949) 364-2154
  • Hoag Orthopedic Institute
    16250 Sand Canyon Ave.
    Irvine, CA 92618
    (855) 999-4641
  • Hoag Orthopedic Institute Surgery Center - Newport Beach
    22 Corporate Plaza, Suite 150
    Newport Beach, CA 92660
    (949) 515-0708