While tennis players serve, volley, and sprint around a court, they usually are not thinking about how often they lift their arms up to toss the tennis ball or swing their racquet. While it varies, a tennis player will swing their racquet about 500 times in a match. This repetitive overhead movement can sometimes result in a shoulder impingement, where the muscles, tendons, or other soft tissues are painfully pinched between the bones or ligaments in the shoulder. This is a common but painful shoulder injury that requires orthopaedic treatment in order to restore your shoulder’s strength and mobility. We are ready to treat your shoulder impingement at ORTHOKnox in our Knoxville and Athens locations so we can get you back on the court as soon as possible!
What causes a shoulder impingement?
The space including soft tissue between bones in the shoulder is known as subacromial space. This space becomes smaller when you raise your arm and this movement can result in pinching of the soft tissue sandwiched between the bones.
Some people have naturally smaller subacromial space that places them more at risk of shoulder impingement. Shoulder impingements are also common in athletes and adults over 50. Repetitive overhead movement in sports while swinging a racket in tennis, pitching in baseball, serving in volleyball, or doing strokes while swimming, as well as jobs that involve overhead movement, such as painting or construction, can result in a shoulder impingement. Overuse can cause swelling, which would make it more likely for the soft tissues to be pinched. Also, poor posture can increase the likelihood of a shoulder impingement.
What are the symptoms of a shoulder impingement?
A shoulder impingement can feel stiff at first and cause focused pain and inflammation at the back of the shoulder, especially while performing overhead movement. This pain is usually sharp while lifting or reaching, and can even impair sleeping if severe enough. Symptoms could arise within days or even months of impingement and can include decreased range of motion, pain, weakness, and swelling. If you or a loved one are experiencing these symptoms, then it is important to see your doctor at ORTHOKnox as soon as possible. Other injuries, such as a rotator cuff tear or torn labrum, are more likely to occur with an untreated shoulder impingement.
How will my doctor diagnose a shoulder impingement?
Your doctor at ORTHOKnox will test your range of motion and try to pinpoint your shoulder pain during your appointment. They may perform an X-ray to identify any bone abnormalities or an MRI to see any inflammation or tearing.
How is a shoulder impingement treated?
Once your doctor at ORTHOKnox has diagnosed you with a shoulder impingement, then they will recommend the best possible treatment for your quickest and most effective recovery. This will most often involve nonsurgical treatment including physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, and rest. ORTHOKnox has physical therapists on-site that will develop a personalized treatment plan for you to help build up supporting muscle strength in your shoulder, improve your posture, restore your range of motion and joint function, and prevent future shoulder injuries.
In some cases, surgery will be the best option for a patient. Candidates for surgery sometimes have other shoulder injuries, such as a rotator cuff tear, that could be treated at ORTHOKnox using arthroscopy. The surgeons at ORTHOKnox can perform this minimally invasive surgery that requires smaller incisions and usually a shorter recovery time. They can create more room in the subacromial space for soft tissues. They can perform decompression by removing bone tissue, do a bursectomy, or even repair a rotator cuff if necessary.
We are here for you at ORTHOKnox if you or a loved one sustains a shoulder impingement. Reach out to us if you have any questions. For more information about how the board-certified surgeons, orthopaedic team, or physical therapists at ORTHOKnox can treat you, call (865) 251-3030, or fill out our easy-to-use online appointment request form. We look forward to hearing from you!