Shoulder Impingement :

How can we help you?

Here at Compass Physio and Trim Physio we see lots of shoulder pain. Most people who come to our clinics have lots of concerns and fears about what the source of their pain is, what to do to get better and do they need to have a scan, see a consultant.

In this Blog I will look at one particular shoulder problem. This is the Shoulder Impingement.


The shoulder is one of the most mobile joints in the body and is prone to having structures within it impinge against each other.

How does it present?

A lot of people that present to Compass Physio report a pain at the shoulder which can be a dull ache or indeed a sharp pain on top or inside the shoulder that is aggravated by movement.

What Structures are involved?

 The Acromion is the bone on top of your shoulder.

The humerus is the upper arm bone.

And the space inbetween is the sub acromial space.

In here lays several structures including

– Subacromial Bursa. This is a fluid filled sac that is designed to protect the structures around it.

– The Supraspinatus tendon (part of the rotator cuff) also runs in this area. The role of the rotator cuff is to keep the the head of humerus away from the acromion and stop it from sliding upwards and hitting the acromion.

– The underneath of the acromion can also have some bony changes (imagine the roof of a cave where over the years rather than being totally smooth it can become roughened with time and activity)

Other structures that can also influence the shoulder are the muscles around the shoulder blade

These muscles being tight or over active can change the position of the shoulder blade slightly thus affecting the movement around the shoulder

What are the symptoms of Shoulder Impingement?


  • A painful arc of movement during the movement of the arm from your side to above your head. The impingement quite commonly happens around shoulder height in that movement.
  • Pain can present at the shoulder and can radiate to the elbow
  • Pain at rest and when laying on the affected shoulder.
  • Pain when moving the arm above head or behind the back

How can Physiotherapy Help:

When you attend Compass Physio we

  • Take a detailed history of the condition
  • Do an examination of the shoulder to identify what structures may be involved
  • Test the strength of the muscles around the shoulder and upper back
  • Prescribe exercises that will make the joint more mobile
  • Prescribe exercises that will help to strengthen the area
  • In most cases there is hands on treatment to assist in the process

5 Exercises to Help with Shoulder Impingement:

  1. Sleeper Stretch:
  2. Foam Roll Thoracic Spine
  3. Standing Theraband row
  4. Shoulder Lateral Rotation at Abduction 90 degrees
  5. Scapular setting

If you want more details on the exercises please contact us..

shoulder impingement

How Can Physiotherapy Help?

If you are finding it hard to complete regular exercises due to pain, fatigue or simply time schedules speak to us at Compass Physio.

Exercise is for everybody. At Compass physio we will complete a full physical assessment and will help identify any possible underlying causes that may limit your exercise regime.

Our chartered physiotherapists will help you to build strength and strategies which will help tackle any problem.

At Compass physio we will help you succeed and reach your goals.

To find out how Compass Physio can help, call 046 954 9456 (this number covers all clinics), click here to book online.

You can also email any questions to info@compassphysio.ie

Paddy Mulligan – MISCP Chartered Physiotherapist Compass Physio

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