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
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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