Impingement syndrome

This is a condition in which the inner tendons of the shoulder ‘impinge’ under the bony point of the shoulder causing pain and difficulty when lifting the arm above shoulder height.  It can be diagnosed through a specialist shoulder examination. An ultrasound scan (click to read more) is used to confirm the diagnosis and to ensure that the tendons are not torn. At the time of the ultrasound scan, a steroid injection is used for pain relief. This may give permanent or temporary relief. Physiotherapy is also useful in treating this condition.

If the pain returns after the injection and physiotherapy, then a minor day-case keyhole operation may be required to give a more permanent solution. The procedure is referred to as arthroscopic sub-acromial decompression and involves a small amount of bone being shaved off the under-surface of the point of the shoulder.  The ExeterShoulder surgeons each perform around 90 of these procedures every year.  Recovery from this procedure usually takes 6 to 10 weeks (click to read more about recovery).

Click to read more about the surgery for impingement syndrome if you are due to have the operation.