Bursitis, tendinitis, and shoulder impingement syndrome

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What are the signs of shoulder impingement syndrome?

Impingement is caused by a painful pinching of the rotator cuff. It can be felt when making sweeping shoulder movements, in other words, when lifting the arms completely and repeatedly in front of you or to the side when combined with certain other types of rotation. Pain sets in gradually and occurs especially at night when sleeping on your stomach.

Possible repercussions

Impingement is primarily a mechanical issue. The presence of bone spurs, which usually appear in patients over age 40, are a major contributing factor. Poor posture and repetitive, incorrect lifting movements can also lead to the onset of symptoms.

Over the long term, impingement can result in inflammation (tendinitis) and lead to the full or partial tear of the rotator cuff.

Non-surgical treatments

There are several alternatives to surgery to treat patients suffering from bursitis, tendinitis, and shoulder impingement.

  • The best treatment is always to avoid the activity that caused the impingement in the first place. Rest, ice packs, oral anti-inflammatory drugs, and some sort of therapeutic treatment (physiotherapy, occupational therapy, osteopathy, or chiropractic therapy) are effective in 90% of cases.
  • As long as there aren’t any tears, ultrasound-guided cortisone shots are an option after two months. A maximum of two or three shots can be administered.
  • An MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) or ultrasound is prescribed if treatment hasn’t alleviated the pain after six months.
  • If symptoms have not improved after 6 to 12 months of conservative treatment, including one or two cortisone shots, surgery should be considered.
  • Surgical treatment

    Dr. Beauchamp uses a surgical technique called arthroscopic bursectomy and acromioplasty that involves creating more space between the rotator cuff and bone growths by removing the coracoacromial ligament and thinning out the surface of the bone.

    About the procedure

    • Outpatient arthroscopic procedure (very small incisions using very small surgical instruments)
    • Length of procedure: 30 to 40 minutes
    • Regional anesthesia (the entire arm and shoulder are blocked) by an anaesthesiologist. The patient remains conscious during the procedure.
    • If the patient would like to be sedated, a mild, short-acting sedative can be administered.

    Post-surgical recovery

    Patients may be escorted home approximately one hour after their procedure. Numbness in the shoulder wears off after approximately 6 to 12 hours. It is recommended that patients take pain relievers during the first few days after surgery. The arm should start being used the day following the procedure.

    About recovery

    • Patients can resume non-strenuous activities during the first week (cooking, driving, writing).
    • Patients can resume moderate activities after two months (golf, skiing, cleaning).
    • Patients can resume more strenuous activities after four months (exercise, swimming, tennis, carpentry).
    • Recovery rate: 90%
    • Complication rate: less than 1%

    Contact us now.
    It will be our pleasure to book you an appointment for consultation and treatment in the coming days.
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