Shoulder Impingement Syndrome (SIS) refers to the tendons of the rotator cuff becoming impinged, or pinched, as they pass through the shoulder joints. Also referred to as thrower's shoulder or swimmer's shoulder, for obvious reasons, these tendons become impinged in the sub-acromial space, the area under the acromion process of the shoulder blade (where the collarbone attaches). Commonly seen in throwing sports and other sports that revolve around overhead movements, (racket sports, swimming, etc.) the main cause of pinching occurs when, upon lifting the arm, the head of the humorous bone does not depress adequately enough to slide under the acromion. Improper form when lifting or lifting too much weight can also cause pain I the upper shoulder area because if you are over-lifting, additional muscles will be forced to compensate, and the shoulder will inadvertently elevate and therefore make that sub-acromial space much tighter.
If left untreated, the supraspinatus (primary) and infraspinatus tendons will become irritated and inflamed, which can lead to an extension of the issue. Pain on the front and the side of the shoulder are important indicators that a problem may be forming, and that you should seek treatment. Treatment for impingement syndrome focuses on reducing pain and inflammation, while increasing mobility and strength. SIS is an extremely recurring syndrome, so isolating, identifying, and correcting the potential causes are crucial to treatment and prevention.
To help, a specialized weight training program can help to stabilize the scapula. Scapular (shoulder blade) stability includes strengthening the trapezius muscles to rotate more effectively upward, incorporating a tilt upon overhead humorous movements. Additionally, elongating the pectoral and rhomboid muscles will create more space for movement in the common impingement zones.