Impingement typically is seen in the work or athletic population that uses their arms for repetitive overhead lifting, pushing and pulling – contractors, painters, tennis, baseball, and swimming. This condition normally occurs when you actively raise your arm to an overhead position decreasing the space between the bursa and rotator cuff. When performing this action the acromion will pinch or impinge the rotator cuff tendon.
The shoulder complex is a ball and socket joint and is comprised of several groups of muscles, three bones and several soft tissue structures including ligaments, a joint capsule, soft tissue, and labrum. Each of these components work together to create a stable structure permitting the true function of shoulder movement, strength and stability.
Symptoms include tenderness throughout the shoulder complex, but primarily located in the front (anterior) and outside (lateral) portion of the shoulder. Signs of this condition can be at rest or with activity. Pain will occur with activities above the shoulder including rotational pain, feelings of tightness, weakness with extended activities above the shoulder, and difficulty reaching across the chest or behind the back.