What is shoulder impingement?
The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint made of the humerus (ball) and glenoid (socket) with a roof over its head formed by a portion of the shoulder blade (acromion). Due to weakness of certain muscle groups that result in abnormal posturing of the shoulder blade, some patients experience painful impingement or abutment of the upper humerus against the acrominon when they elevate their arm. Over time, long-standing impingement can also lead to bursitis or chronic inflammation in the space between the humerus and acromion called the subacromial space.
I was diagnosed shoulder impingement. Do I need surgery?
If you have shoulder impingement or bursitis, rest assured that there are many options available to you that do not involve surgery. The vast majority of patients respond well to conservative treatment and rarely require surgery.
What is the treatment for shoulder impingement?
Shoulder impingement and bursitis is typically addressed through supervised physical therapy to correct the underlying muscle imbalance and corticosteroid injections as needed to reduce pain and inflammation to enable better participation with therapy and home exercises. In rare cases that are unresponsive to these efforts, arthroscopic shoulder surgery may be performed to address the pain and inflammation. However, prior to proceeding with surgery it is important to undergo MRI scanning or other appropriate tests to ensure that the persistent impingement or bursitis is not a secondary problem, as occasionally it may present in the context of a rotator cuff tear.
There are certain important elements to consider when deciding which treatment option is best for you and Dr. Garabekyan will be happy to have this discussion with you.