Shoulder tendinitis is a very common inflammation injury that occurs in the tendons of the rotator cuff, located in the shoulder. It is most typically caused by repeated small injuries or traumas to the rotator cuff—you typically won’t see a single traumatic occurrence or injury lead to tendinitis.
A common problem one might see with shoulder tendinitis is rotator cuff impingement, a condition in which the rotator cuff tendon collides against the acromion bone. This is not something that should happen during normal, healthy function of the shoulder. But when it does happen (and happens repeatedly), it will result in the rotator cuff tendon becoming swollen and inflamed, creating the problem we refer to as tendinitis.
Tendinitis is not to be confused with shoulder bursitis, which is another common issue that often occurs in combination with tendinitis, but is not exactly the same thing.
Common symptoms of shoulder tendinitis
What are the most common symptoms of shoulder tendinitis to watch for? Here are a few examples:
- You experience pain if you’re lying on the side of the body with the sore shoulder, or if you’re attempting to lift an object with a straight arm.
- You feel your shoulder starting to click, or you experience sudden bursts of pain in the shoulder when you raise your arm to about shoulder height.
- You might also experience clicking or pain in the shoulder if you attempt to move your hand behind your head or back.
- You may experience some pain in the shoulder or upper arm even when not trying to raise your arm or lift anything. That pain could stretch down as far as to the elbow, depending on the extent of the condition you have.
- If your condition begins to deteriorate, you might notice shoulder pain being present while you’re at rest or being a constant presence throughout your day.
Diagnosis and treatment with physiotherapy
When you visit your physiotherapist in Brampton, he or she will take a look at the symptoms you’ve reported and run some basic clinical tests to check for shoulder tendinitis. One of the best methods of investigating possible tendinitis is to conduct an ultrasound. X-rays aren’t always reliable for tendinitis, but if your physiotherapist suspects you might have bone spurs encroaching into the subacromial space, he or she might order one.
Shoulder tendinitis can deteriorate into worse problems that could require surgery if not treated. Fortunately, most shoulder tendinitis is highly treatable and reversible. Physical therapy and other types of treatment can be used to address the issue and to correct some of the biomechanics in your shoulder to prevent future shoulder impingement occurrences and the potential for future rotator cuff tendinitis.
If you’re interested in learning more about how physiotherapy is used to treat these types of injuries, or if you’re in need of medical attention for what you believe to be shoulder tendinitis, we encourage you to contact a trusted physiotherapist in Brampton at Paramount Physiotherapy & Sports Injuries Clinic with your questions or concerns.