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Pinching shoulder? It Could be Shoulder Impingement

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Impingement is a clinical sign and not a proper diagnosis. It means that the tendons and other soft tissue structures in the shoulder become trapped under the bony arch when you move your shoulder.


There are many causes of impingement in the shoulder including:

  • Bony spurs (bone growth formed on normal bone) or degenerative change
  • Bursitis (inflammation of gel filled sacs called Bursa which act as cushions in the joints)
  • Damage to the muscles in the shoulder (rotator cuff muscles)
  • Soft tissue damage to the socket of the shoulder joint
  • Instability
  • Neck problems
  • Weakness
  • Tight muscles

Shoulder impingement may also be due to the shape and size of your bony arch and there just simply isn’t enough room for the structures to move under this when you move your arm.

You could have pain when taking your arm up to the side, playing tennis, brushing your hair, or fastening your bra and it may have developed after a rigorous activity or just suddenly appeared.  Try and rest your shoulder, take anti-inflammatories, (check with a pharmacist if taking any other medications or you have other health issues) apply ice and stay away from aggravating factors.

If this doesn’t settle your shoulder, then ask one of our physiotherapists to assess you.  We can see you at home or work and can often arrange an appointment within 24 hours.  Contact us today on 0207 884 0374 or email