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What Is Shoulder Impingement?

Shoulder pain is very common, especially as we age, and there are many causes. If you have shoulder pain that gets worse at night, and it’s hard for you to raise your arm to reach overhead or reach behind you to zip up a dress, it may be a condition called shoulder impingement

Patients with shoulder pain in Sugar Land, Texas, trust Dr. Steven E. Nolan, a board-certified orthopedic surgeon with more than 20 years of experience, because he’s an expert on shoulder injuries such as shoulder impingement. 

Though he’s a surgeon, he aims to restore shoulder mobility and function, and to lessen a patient’s pain, with non-surgical measures first. If you come in for a consultation, you’ll quickly realize his goal is to help you feel better and regain full use of your shoulder.

What is shoulder impingement?

In basic terms, a shoulder impingement occurs when the tendons in your shoulder swell and get caught on part of your shoulder bone. It’s considered a repetitive use injury since it’s common in swimmers, baseball players, and tennis players who move their arms and shoulders the same way often. Painters, movers, and construction workers also suffer from this painful condition.


How is it diagnosed?

The first step is to come in for a comprehensive examination and health history. During the physical exam, Dr. Nolan will assess your shoulder’s mobility and your level of pain. He may order imaging tests like x-rays, ultrasound, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to rule out any broken bones or other malformations. 

X-rays use a miniscule dose of radiation to create pictures of areas inside your body. Ultrasound uses sound waves to create images of areas inside your body, while MRI relies on a magnet and a computer to create the images.

How is it treated?

Once you’re diagnosed with shoulder impingement, Dr. Nolan may recommend rest, anti-inflammatory medications, cortisone/steroid injections, stretching, and/or physical therapy. If none of these help, you may need surgery. He specializes in arthroscopy, a less invasive surgical technique that provides superior results and has less recovery time. 

If shoulder impingement isn’t treated, it could lead to serious complications like tendinitis of the rotator cuff, bursitis, or even a rotator cuff tear, which is quite painful and requires surgery and a long recovery time.

If you have shoulder pain that’s getting worse, it’s time to do something about it. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Nolan, one of Sugar Land, Texas’ most trusted orthopedic surgeons. Use our convenient online booking tool or call 281-720-6910 today. 

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