Impingement is one of the most common causes of pain in the adult shoulder. It results from pressure on the rotator cuff from part of the shoulder blade (scapula) as the arm is lifted. Except in a throwing athlete, impingement syndrome is a disease of a middle age. Most often patient do not relate a history of a specific injury, but instead complain of an insidious onset of pain with overhead activities.
Lateral anatomic view of the shoulder. Above the humerus is acromion, the roof of the shoulder joint.
Schematic view of acromion. The drawing place is the main cause for subacromial impingement.
Shoulder impingement mechanism.
Patient with impingement typically presents with pain, difficulty with overhead activities, stiffness, and weakness. Night pain, particularly when rolling onto the affected side is commonly found in patients with rotator cuff disease. From the functional standpoint patients often report having difficulty with those activities that require reaching overhead or behind the back. Women for example often describe an inability to fasten their brasserie. Local or referred pain, usually to the deltoid insertion or to the lateral side of the upper arm, is common.
Diagnosis and Diagnostic Imaging
The diagnosis of impingement syndrome is based primarily on a careful history and physical examination.
Plain films can often be helpful. Calcification or bony changes may be seen as evidence of chronic impingement. Thus radiographs may show anatomic variants, sclerotic changes, spurring on the undersurface of the acromion.
Ultrasound is the modality for investigating changes in the rotator cuff and subacromial bursa. Additionally, can define the contour of the humeral head and structural changes in the deltoid muscle.
MRI is the modality of choice especially if a soft tissue lesion is presumed but cannot be demonstrated with other techniques.
Calcific tendinitis of the supraspinatus tendon is the cause of shoulder impingement
Calcific tendinitis of the right shoulder in a woman 26 years old. The patient reports intense pain symptomatology reason for the accumulation of calcium in the tendon of the supraspinatus
Ultrasonography of the shoulder: Calcific tendonitis (red circle) is a common cause of severe pain in shoulder
Ultrasound shoulder. Highlighting sizable calcium carbonate scale build mass in the tendon of the supraspinatus
MRI: the arrows shows the inflammation of the subacromial bursa and the traumatic condition of the tendons. The spur from undersurface of the acromion is the cause of the disease.
MRI: the inflammation of the subacromial bursa and the traumatic condition of the tendons due to spur from undersurface of the acromion (red circle).
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