Shoulder Impingement

Shoulder impingement is the most common cause of pain in the shoulder. It is a result of either the tendon to the rotator cuff muscle or the shoulder’s fluid-filled bursa being pinched and irritated during movement. The pain can disturb sleep and prevent you getting on with your normal activities. If rest and anti-inflammatory medications have not resolved the problem, the specialists at the London Orthopaedic Clinic can treat the impingement and ease discomfort.

The London Orthopaedic Clinic’s world-leading surgeons are experts in the treatment of shoulder impingement. Most people’s symptoms are relieved by physiotherapy or steroid injections. If conservative measures have not worked, they can operate to decompress the joint in state-of-the-art operating theatres at the clinic.

What is Shoulder Impingement?

When the arm is raised, the space between the tendon and a bony process on the shoulder blade narrows. The bone, called the acromion, may rub against the tendon or the bursa, leading to pain and irritation.

Age and injury can lead to degeneration or damage in the rotator cuff tendons in the shoulder. Sudden trauma from a fall can trigger problems, as can overuse injuries like decorating a ceiling or pruning a hedge.

If the tendon is damaged or irritated, it swells up, increasing the risk of impinging on the bone. This is painful and the compression can reduce the blood flow, making the tendon fray, like a rope, compounding the problem.

One in five people will be affected by shoulder impingement at some time in their life, with the risk rising with increasing age. Most cases improve within a few weeks or months but for some people the problem can become chronic and unremitting.

Symptoms of Shoulder Impingement

Shoulder impingement can start suddenly, following an injury or build up gradually. The main symptom is an aching pain that’s worse when you lift your arm. The pain is on the top and outside of the shoulder and it can ache at night and disturb sleep. The arm may feel weak; however, movement is not usually restricted. If there is significant stiffness, the problem could be a frozen shoulder instead.

If your shoulder is restricting your ability to sleep, work or exercise, the London Orthopaedic Clinic can provide expert assessment, advice and treatment

How can the London Orthopaedic Clinic help with Shoulder Impingement?

The specialist orthopaedic surgeons at the London Orthopaedic Clinic will be able to fully assess the shoulder, arrange investigations in the high-tech imaging suite and tailor a treatment programme to resolve your symptoms. This can include:


Why choose the London Orthopaedic Clinic?

The London Orthopaedic Clinic provides high-quality, expert orthopaedic and musculoskeletal care tailored to the individual needs of our patients. The Clinic is based at Mayo Clinic Healthcare, at the heart of London’s internationally renowned Harley Street medical district. The London Orthopaedic Clinic offers cutting-edge diagnostics, treatment, management and personalised care.

The expert multi-disciplinary team includes more than 25 leading orthopaedic surgeons, pain management consultants, rheumatologists, allied specialists and radiologists. They work together to reduce pain, improve movement and make a real difference to patients’ lives.

The London Orthopaedic Clinic offers patients something truly unique: access to world-leading experts, high-tech imaging and the latest innovative treatments, together with the feeling of trust and safety of a small family practice.

Shoulder impingement treatment costs

Shoulder impingement treatment at the London Orthopaedic Clinic may be covered by your health insurance policy. Competitive packages are also available for patients who are self-paying. Contact a member of our friendly team on 020 7186 1000 or at to find out more.