Shoulder Impingement

Shoulder Impingement

Now that winters fast approaching we are inclined to skip those morning jogs and hit the gym instead. The warmth and brightness of a gym is far more appealing during those dark, dreary winter months. BUT the risk of weights-related injuries increase two-fold. And a common one that walks through our doors at Physios of Mt Eliza is ‘Shoulder Impingement.’

Shoulder impingement is not a structural problem but a functional one. It causes sharp pain when elevating your arm to or above shoulder height which refers to the lateral (outside) arm. Other movements that may become limited include bringing your hand behind your back or across the front of your body.

To understand how the pain occurs you need to be able to picture the anatomy of the shoulder.

Our rotator cuff tendons run under a small bony arc called the acromion. The space, also known as the subacromial space, for the rotator cuff to run through is already tiny. This is because you’ve also got a bursa in the subacromial space. The bursa is a sac filled with fluid that allows the rotator cuff tendons to run through this space without friction against the bone.

So when we start doing weights with bad posture or start getting tight in certain areas as a result of weight training, that space becomes even smaller. Gradually as we continue with poor technique or weights that are too heavy for our ability it causes the space to decrease to the point where the acromion impinges the rotator cuff and the bursa thus causing us pain. And that is known as shoulder impingement.

Try lift your arm while your slouching. Pretty difficult hey?!

Helpful tips to avoid shoulder impingement:

  • Start by using light weights and every 4-6 weeks increase the weights to the next level
  • Its all about your technique and if unsure ask a personal trainer to guide you
  • Shoulders need to be pulled back to open up your neck and chest region. This will set your shoulder blades in the correct spot to work more efficiently.
  • Stretching is just as important as strengthening. Stretching your upper back, neck and pecs will allow you to keep a good posture. Look for the stretch posters on the wall of the gym or ask a personal trainer to guide you.

If any of these symptoms sound like what your experiencing please contact our experienced physiotherapists for proper assessment and treatment. Or if your in need of technique advice our physiotherapists are experts in technique training.

For more information or to make an appointment with one of our experienced Physiotherapists, contact the clinic on 9775 4000.

Related Posts


Physios of Mt Eliza
88 Mt Eliza Way, Mt Eliza, 3930