Do I Have Shoulder Tendonitis or a Shoulder Impingement Syndrome (SIS)?
While shoulder pain is one of the most common sports-related injuries, shoulder discomfort can happen to anyone and can be symptomatic of a number of conditions. To ensure you receive the right treatment for your unique case, an accurate diagnosis is crucial. Whether you have recently been diagnosed with a shoulder condition, or you are heading to an orthopedic specialist and want to be as informed as possible, ProFysio Physical Therapy is here to help. Our expert physical therapists are sharing the difference between shoulder tendonitis and shoulder impingement syndrome (SIS), how these two conditions might develop, and potential treatment options.
What Is Shoulder Tendonitis?
Shoulder tendonitis—also spelled tendinitis—refers to the inflammation or irritation of the tendon(s) in your shoulder. Often this inflammation occurs due to overuse or repetitive motions, making it common for those involved in sports such as swimming and baseball as well as jobs like construction, painting, assembly, and cleaning.
While the shoulder is made up of a complex interaction of muscles and tendons, shoulder tendonitis is typically found in the rotator cuff or bicep tendon.
- Pain or tenderness in your shoulder
- An inability to hold your arm in certain positions
- Discomfort when lying on your shoulder
- A clicking noise coming from your shoulder
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, it might be time to visit your physician. Your primary care provider will perform a physical exam and may prescribe an x-ray or MRI to get a more accurate picture of your shoulder and rule out other conditions such as a rotator cuff tear or arthritis.
What Is Shoulder Impingement Syndrome?
Shoulder impingement syndrome—or SIS—happens when there is squeezing, pinching, or consistent rubbing between the humerus (arm bone) and the top outer edge of the shoulder blade, called the acromion.
Symptoms of SIS include pain, tenderness, weakness, or stiffness in your shoulder and a limited range of motion. Clearly, these symptoms are very similar to shoulder tendonitis, which is why these two conditions are often confused for each other. However, tendonitis is not needed to experience SIS. Other issues such as shoulder bursitis, the presence of bone spurs, or an acute injury can also cause an impingement.
Typically, SIS is diagnosed through a combination of a physical examination, muscle test, and either an x-ray or MRI. Depending on the severity of the impingement, your primary care physician might recommend seeing a sports medicine or orthopedic specialist for further insight.
Receiving Treatment for Shoulder Tendonitis & Impingement
Your personalized treatment will depend on the extent of your condition—ranging from rest and ice to steroid injections and surgery. One of the most effective and heavily utilized treatment options for both shoulder tendonitis and SIS is physical therapy. It is even prescribed post-surgery to help reduce your pain and restore shoulder function and range of motion.
At ProFysio Physical Therapy, our physical therapists create custom treatment plans that might include:
- Stretching and strengthening exercises
- Manual joint mobilization
- Extracorporeal Pulse Activation Technology (EPAT)
- Graston Technique
- Electrical stimulation
Our goal is to pair cutting-edge, evidence-based treatments with compassionate and highly individualized care to help our patients get back to living full and pain-free lives. We continually adjust your treatment plan based on your progress to ensure you get the most out of your time with us.
To learn more about how physical therapy can help you regain your shoulder mobility and comfort, reach out to ProFysio Physical Therapy today! Call us at (732) 812-5200 or fill out our online contact form. We have multiple locations throughout Monmouth County, NJ for your convenience.