Shoulder Impingement Stretches

Shoulder impingement, often known as swimmer’s shoulder, is a common issue that occurs when the rotator cuff tendon rubs against the underside of the acromion bone and causes inflammation.

The swelling arises when the collection of muscles and tendons don’t slide as they should, putting pressure on the tendons and bursa. The bursa is a fluid-filled sac between the rotator cuff and acromion bone.

Activities that require people to move their arms up above their shoulders can aggravate this condition. For example, when setting up a serve, as you make contact with the tennis ball in a full extension motion, the tendons in the rotator cuff are pinched as they pass the humerus and acromion.

With repetitive use, chronic rubbing may lead to painful wear and tear on the rotator cuff. People suffering from impingement experience achiness when their arm is at rest, weakness, loss of motion and in extreme cases it could even interfere with sleep and other activities.

Does stretching help shoulder impingement?

Under the guidance of a physical therapist, there are plenty of shoulder impingement exercises that could help increase the space around the joint to alleviate pressure of the bursa, biceps tendon and rotator cuff.

Strengthening exercises to restore mobility, and any combination of ice packs and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are usually the first line of defense after a thorough examination.

How do you stretch a shoulder impingement?

If you’re looking to alleviate pressure caused by shoulder impingement, we’ve listed a few examples that you can try at home:

Prone Abduction – 90° Thumbs Up

2 Sets 10 Reps, Twice Daily

• Lie face down on your stomach, with the injured arm down and your thumbs pointed outward
• Raise your arm upward to shoulder level with your hand at shoulder height, keeping your elbow straight
• Lower your arm to the floor and repeat

Prone Shoulder Flexion – Thumbs Up

2 Sets 10 Reps, Twice Daily

• Lie face down on your stomach
• Extended your arms overhead at 45 degrees with your thumbs facing up
• Lift your arms upward slightly above your head

Prone Shoulder Retraction

2 Sets 10 Reps, Twice Daily

• Lie face down on your stomach with your arms out from the side and bend your elbows
• Raise your arms upward and squeeze your shoulder blades together, then relax

Prone Shoulder Extension – Palms Inward

2 Sets 10 Reps, Twice Daily

• Lie face down on your stomach with your arms at your side.
• Keep your elbows straight and lift your arms up and behind you
• Return to starting position

Looking for more help? Take a look at Dr. Van Thiel’s exercise program for shoulder impingement. Better yet, schedule an evaluation with Dr. Van Thiel who utilizes advanced arthroscopic surgical techniques to treat athletes and active individuals.

How long does it take to recover from shoulder impingement?

If conservative treatments don’t do the trick within a few weeks, surgery might be the next step to prevent compression and further damage from occurring. Learn more about when to consider shoulder impingement surgery for pain relief.

No matter if your injury is severe or if you’re simply dealing with mild irritation, a comprehensive exam will provide you with a thorough understanding of your condition and a more clear path to recovery.

Take it from Kay, who was dealing with constant shoulder pain and sought out Dr. Van Thiel’s expertise for solutions. “Dr. Van Thiel is just great. I felt very confident because everyone did their job so well and it all went so smoothly. I will always appreciate the care they gave me, everyone was wonderful to work with.”

Place your trust into a qualified Orthopedic surgeon like Dr. Van Thiel, who works to ensure his patients get back to their active lifestyles quickly and safely.

Schedule a consultation with Dr. Van Thiel at OrthoIllinois today!


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