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Shoulder Impingement and Exercise

Shoulder pain is the third most common musculoskeletal complaint in orthopedic of the key symptoms of shoulder impingement is sharp pain with lifting motions of the arm, due to a painful entrapment of soft tissue within the joint space with elevation of the upper extremity.

There are a variety of reasons that could contribute to the development of shoulder impingement, but research has shown that this condition is very treatable in a conservative manner (i.e. physical therapy). In fact, research has shown that specific exercise tailored to the individual’s needs is effective at treating patients with shoulder impingement, and that manual practice and is usually due to a defect of the rotator cuff and/or an impingement syndrome.​ One therapy combined with specific exercise yielded even more positive results compared to exercise alone.​

Other research has shown that specific exercises focusing on the correction of kinematic deficits within the shoulder may be more beneficial as compared to a general shoulder exercise program.​ The best way to get a specific exercise program tailored to your symptoms and needs would be to see a physical therapist for evaluation and treatment of your shoulder impairments!

We understand how painful and debilitating shoulder impingement can be. With these symptoms, patients often complain of extreme difficulty performing dressing, caring for children or family members, work duties, cooking or cleaning around the home, and more. It is important that the public knows that there are conservative treatment options out there for your shoulder pain, and our physical therapists would love to evaluate and treat you at All Care Therapies of Georgetown!


  1. Garving C, Jakob S, Bauer I, Nadjar R, Brunner UH. Impingement Syndrome of the Shoulder. ​Dtsch Arztebl Int. 2017;114(45):765–776. doi:10.3238/arztebl.2017.0765

  2. Steuri R, Sattelmayer M, Elsig S, et al. Effectiveness of conservative interventions including exercise, manual therapy and medical management in adults with shoulder impingement: a systematic review and meta-analysis of RCTs. ​Br J Sports Med. 2017;51(18):1340–1347. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2016-096515

  3. Shire AR, Stæhr TAB, Overby JB, Bastholm Dahl M, Sandell Jacobsen J, Høyrup Christiansen D. Specific or general exercise strategy for subacromial impingement syndrome-doesitmatter?Asystematicliteraturereviewandmetaanalysis.BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2017;18(1):158. Published 2017 Apr 17. doi:10.1186/s12891-017-1518-0

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