Shoulder Impingement

The shoulder is a ball and socket joint, which is supported by ligaments, cartilage and 4 muscles called the rotator cuff.  Shoulder impingement occurs when the space under the point of the shoulder blade becomes narrowed and the rotator cuff become “impinged.” This causes pain and continued inflammation, making it uncomfortable to move the shoulder in certain directions.


  • Pain with movement of the shoulder, particularly overhead movement
  • Pain when lying on the shoulder
  • Weakness of the shoulder
  • Pain with lifting or carrying

Self Management

  • Rest from aggravating activities such as reaching forward, overhead and behind back
  • Avoid any aggravating sports such as tennis or golf
  • Ice can help with the pain and inflammation
  • Anti-inflammatory medication as prescribed by your doctor can sometimes be beneficial

Physiotherapy management

There are many factors which can contribute to the development of shoulder impingement. Your physiotherapist will perform a thorough assessment to determine the underlying risk factors, and plan an appropriate treatment and rehabilitation program. Techniques that may be utilised include;

  • Joint mobilisations
  • Soft tissue techniques
  • Taping
  • Dry needling
  • Rotator cuff and scapular muscle strengthening
  • Core muscle strengthening