Impingement and Subacromial Decompression

 by Mr Ben Gooding

Subacromial Impingement And Pain

Your shoulder is the most mobile joint in your body and is dependent on strong muscles to move and stabilise it. The most important muscles for this purpose are your rotator cuff muscles. These muscles originate from your shoulder blade and their tendons form a hood covering the ball of your shoulder joint.

These tendons can get damaged in two ways, either by an accident or by weakening and ‘wearing out’ over time. Bony spurs can develop underneath the arch of bone above your shoulder joint (the acromion) and the tendons can rub on the coraco-acromial ligament overlying the front of the tendons. When you move your arm into certain positions, such as reaching up or behind the back, these spurs and the ligament can press on your tendons, making them and the overlying bursa inflamed and painful. The pain experienced from this when the arm is lifted is called ‘impingement’.