Subacromial Impingement

Subacromial Impingement

What is subacromial impingement?

Subacromial impingement is a condition in which the shoulder bones abnormally contact one another when the shoulder is in certain positions, such as with the arm overhead. The abnormal contact is called “impingement”. It occurs between the humerus (arm bone) and a bone spur on the bottom surface of the acromion (see figure).

What are the symptoms of impingement?

Impingement causes pain in the shoulder, especially with overhead lifting and reaching. Over time, it may lead to inflammation or rotator cuff injury.

How is subacromial impingement treated?

Non-surgical treatment options for subacromial impingement include physical therapy and corticosteroid injections. This results in good pain relief for most patients. Sometimes surgery is needed to remove the bone spur causing the impingement. This is called Subacromial Decompression.