Impingement Syndrome


The rotator cuff muscles are susceptible to cumulative/overuse injury. One of the leading causes of cumulative injury is poor posture and muscular imbalances, which disrupt the normal biomechanics of the shoulder, leading to alteration in the position of the humerus within the shoulder blade during arm movements.

The main rotator cuff muscle, which is susceptible to this cumulative type of injury, is the supraspinatus, which is located in the upper aspect of the shoulder blade within the supraspinatus fossa.



The supraspinatus muscle passes between the collar bone and the head of the humerus. If the humerus is in an elevated position during arm movements, the tendon can become impinged or trapped between the head of the humerus and the underlying collarbone. This is often referred to as an impingement syndrome.

Apart from faulty biomechanics, there may also be other anatomical factors which can contribute to the development of an impingement syndrome by compromising the space of the bony supraspinatus outlet, i.e. anterior acromial spurs and alterations in the shape of the acromion.

Irrespective of the cause of impingement, over time, repetitive arm movements can lead to increased stress placed on the underlying tendons and the development of a tendinopathy/tear – and, in some cases, a subacromial bursitis.


If surgery is necessary, intervention of choice is usually an arthroscopic subacromial decompression (ASD). The following animation link describes this procedure:

(The list of conditions given above and subsequent explanations are intended as a general guide and should not be considered a replacement for a full medical examination. Furthermore, we do not purport to treat all the conditions listed. Should you wish to discuss any of these conditions with our chiropractors, please do not hesitate to phone the clinic on 020 7374 2272 or email

Our team of chiropractors and massage therapists are on hand to answer any questions you may have, so get in touch today via or on +44 (0)20 7374 2272.

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