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Shoulder Tendonitis

Shoulder Tendonitis

At Rose Physical Therapy Group in Washington, DC we often treat shoulder tendonitis. When shoulder tendonitis becomes chronic, it is referred to as shoulder tendonosis or shoulder tendonopathy. 

Often shoulder tendonitis involves the muscles of the rotator cuff and biceps muscles. 

The best way to treat the most common cause of shoulder pain, or rotator cuff tendinitis, is with physcial therapy experts at Rose Physical Therapy Group.

Swinging a tennis racket, digging in the garden, placing a book on a high shelf, and reaching back to insert your arm into a sleeve — these are some of the movements made possible by the shoulder's enormous range of motion. We use this mobility in so many activities that when the shoulder hurts, it can be disabling. For younger people, sports injuries are the main source of trouble, but the rest of us have more to fear from the normal wear and tear that, over time, weakens shoulder tissues and leaves them vulnerable to injury. The risk is greatest for people with occupations or hobbies that require repetitive or overhead movements, such as carpenters, painting, tennis, or baseball.

The most common cause of shoulder pain is rotator cuff tendinitis — inflammation of key tendons in the shoulder. The earliest symptom is a dull ache around the outside tip of the shoulder that gets worse when you push, pull, reach overhead, or lift your arm up to the side. Lying on the affected shoulder also hurts, and the pain may wake you at night, especially if you roll onto that shoulder. Even getting dressed can be a trial. Eventually, the pain may become more severe and extend over the entire shoulder.

If you do nothing about it, tendinitis can lead to the fraying or tearing of tendon tissue. Fortunately, rotator cuff tendinitis and even tears can usually be treated without surgery by our orthopedic phyiscal therapists at Rose Physical Therapy Group in Washington, DC.

Tendonitis or Tendinitis

Tendonitis (also known as tendinitis) is a general term used to describe inflammation associated with a tendon. Tendons connect muscles to bone, and inflammation of these rope-like tissues is the most common cause of soft-tissue pain. Tendonitis differs from arthritis, which refers to inflammation of a joint.

What is shoulder tendonitis?

Shoulder tendonitis is an inflammation of your rotator cuff or biceps tendon. Your rotator cuff consists of the muscles and tendons in your shoulder. They connect your upper arm bone to your shoulder blade.

The rotator cuff comprises four tendons — the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis; each of them attaches a muscle of the same name to the scapula (shoulder blade) and the humerus, or upper arm bone (see illustration). The tendons work together to stabilize the joint, rotate the shoulder, and lift the arm above the head. Rotator cuff tendonitis or tendinitis usually starts with inflammation of the supraspinatus tendon and gradually involves the three other tendons as the condition progresses.

Your injury may range from mild to severe inflammation of most of your rotator cuff. When your rotator cuff tendon gets inflamed and thickened, it is also called rotator cuff tendonitis. Your rotator cuff tendon may get trapped under the top bone of your shoulder (acromion). It is formed by a part of your shoulder blade (the scapula).

  • Shoulder tendonitis is an inflammation of your rotator cuff or biceps tendon. It often results from your tendon being pinched by nearby structures.
  • You can get shoulder tendonitis from playing certain sports that require the arm to move over the head repeatedly.
  • Symptoms can include not being able to hold your arm in certain positions, and pain or soreness in your shoulder.
  • Treatment typically includes strengthening exercises
  • Surgery is used for severe injuries or tears, but because recovery from is typcially slow and arduous, so surgery is reserved for extreme cases.

Symptoms and treatment for shoulder tendonitis

What are the symptoms of shoulder tendonitis?

Symptoms may be a bit different for each person. Symptoms may include:

  • Inability to hold your arm in certain positions
  • Shoulder pain or soreness
  • If you have trouble sleeping or feel worsening pain, it is important to make an appointment to see a physical therapist at Rose Phyical Therapy Group.

The recovery from rotator cuff tendinitis or a small tear is generally two to four weeks, and stubborn cases can take several months. Early on, the aim is to reduce swelling and inflammation of the tendons and relieve compression in the subacromial space. When it becomes possible, which is based on each individual client's progress at Rose, exercises can be started to strengthen the muscles and improve range of motion.

Rose Physical Therapy is here in Washington, DC to help!

If you have shoulder or biceps pain and you're looking at this website, it's probably time to give us a call to setup an appointment right away, or schedule through our website. Either our office in downtown Washington, DC between Dupont Circle and Farragut Square, or at our office in Navy Yard and Capitol Riverfront, just a few blocks from Capitol Hill has the best area physical thearpists who are capable of getting you on the track to recovery. One on one appointments at Rose are one-hour with a physical therapist, never a technician. And Rose Physical Therapy in Washington, DC accepts most private health insurance so that the best physical therapy is also affordable for you based on your insurance plan.