How do you prevent shoulder impingements?

Preventing shoulder impingement involves practices that help maintain shoulder health, flexibility, and strength. Here are some strategies:

  • Proper Posture: Maintain good posture, especially during activities that involve the shoulder. Slouching can alter the space where tendons move, potentially leading to impingement.
  • Regular Exercise: Engage in exercises that strengthen your shoulder, especially the rotator cuff and scapular muscles. Strengthening these areas can enhance the stability of your shoulder joint, reducing the risk of impingement.
  • Flexibility: Regular stretching can maintain or improve flexibility in the shoulder, which can prevent stiffness that could lead to impingement.
  • Ergonomic Workspace: Adjust your workspace to avoid prolonged periods of reaching overhead or maintaining awkward positions, which can strain your shoulder over time.

Shoulder impingement is a common condition where the tendons of the rotator cuff, along with the subacromial bursa, become compressed against a part of the shoulder blade (the acromion) during shoulder movements. This can cause pain, weakness, and limited mobility in the shoulder. It’s often caused by repetitive overhead movements or by a sudden injury.

The approach to treating shoulder impingement often includes:

  • Rest and Activity Modification: Avoid activities that cause pain, especially those that involve reaching overhead or behind the back. Rest allows inflammation to subside.
  • Physical Therapy: Physiotherapists can provide exercises to improve the strength and flexibility of the shoulder muscles, particularly the rotator cuff and scapular stabilizers. This can help to reposition the shoulder joint and decrease impingement.
  • Pain Relief: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Corticosteroid Injections: In some cases, doctors might recommend a corticosteroid injection to reduce inflammation in the shoulder.
  • Surgery: If conservative treatments are ineffective, surgery may be considered. This is typically done arthroscopically and involves increasing the space around the rotator cuff to prevent impingement.


It’s important to consult with a healthcare provider or physiotherapist to determine the best course of treatment for shoulder impingement based on the individual’s specific condition and needs.

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