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Shoulder tendinopathy is an injury to a tendon in the shoulder. Tendons connect muscle to bone, often near a joint. Tendinopathy makes it hard to move the shoulder due to:
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The most common cause is overuse of a muscle and tendon. This can happen with repetitive motions such as reaching overhead or throwing.
It may be caused by:
This problem is more common in people aged 30 years and older. People who do these activities are also at higher risk:
Symptoms start slowly over time. Pain is often worse when using the shoulder.
Common problems are:
You will be asked about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. It will focus on the shoulders. This is often enough to make the diagnosis.
Images may be taken. This can be done with:
It may take weeks or months to heal. The goals of treatment are to ease pain and swelling. This may include:
Some people may need surgery to repair the tendon. The type of surgery depends on the injury.
This problem cannot always be prevented. Starting a new sport slowly may help lower the risk of injury.
Arthroscopy Association of North America
Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Canadian Orthopaedic Association
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation
Biceps tendonitis and biceps rupture. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:https://www.dynamed.com/condition/biceps-tendonitis-and-biceps-rupture. Updated February 5, 2105. Accessed December 9, 2019.
Derry S, Wiffen PJ, et al. Topical analgesics for acute and chronic pain in adults—an overview of Cochrane Reviews. 2017 May 12;5:CD008609.
Snyder GM, Mair SD, et al. Tendinopathy of the long head of the biceps. Med Sport Sci. 2012;57:76-89.
Swimmer's shoulder. Cleveland Clinic website. Available at: http://my.clevelandclinic.org/services/orthopaedics-rheumatology/diseases-conditions/hic-shoulder-tendonitis. Accessed December 9, 2019.
Shoulder impingement/rotator cuff tendinitis. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00032. Updated February 2011. Accessed December 9, 2019.
Last reviewed September 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Laura Lei-Rivera, PT, DPT, GCS Last Updated: 8/11/2020