What Causes Shoulder Impingement?

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If you experience pain on the outside of your shoulder especially during overhead activities, it could be a sign of shoulder impingement. You should visit a physiotherapy clinic for proper diagnosis and treatment.

In order to understand what causes shoulder impingement, you should know how the internal mechanism of the shoulder functions. When you lift your arm over your head, the tendons inside the rotator cuff smoothly pass through the narrow space called the subacromial space in the shoulder. The problem occurs when the rotator cuff tendons become swollen and hence rub against the bone at the subacromial space. Here are some common causes of shoulder impingement.  

Overuse of the shoulder joint

Most cases of shoulder impingement are caused by overuse of the shoulder joint. Those who participate in swimming or tennis playing, for instance, are more susceptible than others to get this condition. You can also get shoulder impingement from throwing a baseball, playing volleyball or performing any activities that require excessive overhead movements, such as, painting and wood cutting.

Anatomic abnormalities

Some people are born with a curved or hooked acromion, resulting in a narrower subacromial space in the shoulder. They are more prone to get shoulder impingement due to their structural abnormalities.


Bony growths underneath the acromion after a certain age may result in narrowing down of the subacromial space, causing the tendons inside your shoulder rub on the nearby bone during shoulder movements.

Another common cause of shoulder impingement is poor blood circulation. Lack of blood flow to the shoulder area may damage the ligaments and tendons in the shoulder joint. Over time, this may lead to shoulder impingement. If you want to prevent shoulder impingement, you should consume enough vegetables and keep your system hydrated. Another good idea would be do some warm-up exercises before participating in any kind of overhead activities.