Shoulder Impingement Syndrome – How to Prevent It?

Shoulder impingement syndrome results in painful movements of the shoulder. Here are some steps that you can take so as not to let the pain keep you from doing activities [...]

In an earlier issue of UPDATES, physiotherapist Gerda de Jong provided some injury prevention tips while exercising. Gerda will be sharing periodically on the various types of sports injuries and how we could prevent them, starting with shoulder impingement syndrome this week.

What is shoulder impingement syndrome?

If you feel pain when lifting your arms above your shoulders, you may have shoulder impingement syndrome. This occurs when the muscle tendon and/or bursa around the shoulder become pinched between the bones of the shoulder joint.

This condition commonly occurs in swimmers, throwers and racket players who repeatedly move their arms above the shoulder. It can also be sustained during a fall on an outstretched arm.

To treat shoulder impingement syndrome, your doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory medication.  Your physiotherapist may use moist heat or ultrasound to relieve the pain and inflammation. He/she may prescribe exercises to help your shoulder joint remain flexible, and later, strengthening exercises for the muscles surrounding the shoulder joint.

(Photo: howtorelief) Shoulder impingement syndrome occurs when the muscle tendon and/or bursa around the shoulder become pinched between the bones of the shoulder joint
(Photo: howtorelief) Shoulder impingement syndrome occurs when the muscle tendon and/or bursa around the shoulder become pinched between the bones of the shoulder joint

Preventing Shoulder Impingement Syndrome

Shoulder impingement syndrome results in painful movements of the shoulder and can be extremely uncomfortable. There are steps that you can take so as not to let the pain keep you from doing activities you enjoy.

  1. Increase your training gradually, at a reasonable rate. Do not do too much too soon.
  2. Balance your muscle training – train every upper body push exercise with a pull exercise, i.e., if you do a push-up, do some rows; if you do an overhead press, do some pull-ups.
  3. Maintain good posture, i.e., chest open, shoulders back and shoulder blades stable.
  4. Keep small amounts of unavoidable inflammation under control with rest and ice.
  5. Athletes who need to perform overhead throwing motion should use sound throwing mechanics to prevent injury. Have your throwing form analysed by your coach or trainer.

Take good care of your shoulders so that you can enjoy full and pain-free movement.

 

References

  1. 5 Ways to Avoid Shoulder Impingement, Athletico Physical Therapy
  2. Prevention of Sports Injuries Systematic Reivew of Randomized Control Trials, Sari Aaltonen, Heli Karjalainen, Ari Heinonen, Archive of Internal Medicine, August 2007
  3. Is it Possible to Prevent Sports Injuries? Sports Medicine, Jari Parkkari, Urho M Kujala, Sports Medicine, Vol 31, Issue 14, pp 985-995, December 2001
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