Shoulder impingement syndrome - Dr. Michael Lehmann
With mechanical impingement syndrome, suffers typically experience pain in their lateral upper arm. This pain occurs on stressing the joint or can be felt as pain at rest during the night.
Causes of shoulder impingement
The culprit here is the lack of space between the acromion and the rotator cuff (shoulder impingement). Common causes of an impingement syndrome can be deformities of the acromion and calcium deposits in the rotator cuff resulting in acute or chronic bursitis. These conditions can occur, for example, as a result of sports-related (tennis, volleyball) or profession-related over-the-head straining - although these are not the only causes.
Treatments for shoulder impingement syndrome
In the early stages, conservative treatment methods such as anti-inflammatory medications, injections or physiotherapy can sometimes be of benefit. However where there is marked narrowing of the joint space, there is also a risk that the strain put on the joint by physiotherapy can make the condition worse or even lead to tears in the rotator cuff.
Conservative procedure with shoulder arthroscopy
If the shoulder pain persists, or if it is actually increasing, surgical intervention is the next step. Nowadays, good successes are often achievable for impingement syndrome thanks to the use of arthroscopic techniques. A bursa that is stuck under the acromion due to inflammation can be released with this procedure and the bony impingement carefully removed. After just a few weeks, good gliding function is restored.
Arthroscopic procedures, when performed in good time, can generally prevent larger rotator cuff tears involving several tendons.
Most operations can be carried out as a day case.
Generally speaking, the arm should be mobilised the very next day.