Shoulder Tendonitis

ST 21 265x300 Shoulder TendonitisShoulder tendonitis is the inflammation, irritation and swelling of the tendons in the rotator cuff and bicep. Shoulder tendonitis is usually caused by the pinching of the nerve in the shoulder or from repetitive strain (RS) on the shoulder joint.

This particular type of tendonitis is common amongst sports and activities that require the hand to be moved above the head. These activities include weight llifting and bodybuilding, swimming, rock climbing, swimming and baseball.

Shoulder tendonitis often starts as just a slight pain in the shoulder or upper bicep but can develop into a pain that will encompass the entire shoulder/upper arm area. It’s a condition that can be easily treated but in serious cases may become permanent.

Causes of Shoulder Instability

ST 11 300x219 Shoulder TendonitisShoulder Tendonitis occurs as a result of sports injuries, by repetitive minor impact on the affected area, or from a sudden, more serious injury. For instance, professional baseball players, swimmers, tennis players, and golfers are susceptible to tendonitis in their shoulders, arms, and elbows. Improper technique in any sport is one of the primary causes of overload on tissues including tendons, which can contribute to tendonitis. But you don’t have to be a professional athlete to develop this condition. Anyone can get tendonitis, but it is more common in adults, especially those over 40 years of age. As tendons age, they tolerate less stress, are less elastic, and tear more easily.

Shoulder tendonitis/bursitis typically results from one or more of these factors:

• Age: 40 and over

• Frequent use of the arm in an overhead position or throwing motion, as in:

o tennis or other racquet sports

o swimming

o baseball

• Jobs such as overhead assembly work, butchering, or using an overhead pressing machine, heavy lifting

• Direct blow to the shoulder area or falling on an outstretched arm

• Other diseases or conditions that weaken shoulder muscles, such as rheumatoid arthritis, gout, psoriasis, or an unusual drug reaction

• Infection (rare)


Treatment goals include reduction in pain and inflammation, as well as preserving mobility and preventing disability and recurrence.

The treatment recommendations may include a combination of rest, splints, heat and cold application. You may need more advanced treatments including:

• Corticosteroid injections from your health care provider. They work quickly to decrease the inflammation and pain.

• Physical therapy that includes range of motion exercises and splinting. This can be very beneficial.

• Surgery, if you are not responding to other treatments.


Because most cases of tendonitis are caused by overuse, the best treatment is prevention. It is important to avoid or modify the activities that cause the problem. Underlying conditions such as improper posture or poor technique in sports or work must be corrected.

Apply these basic rules when performing activities:

• Take it slow at first and gradually build up your activity level.

• Use limited force and limited repetitions.

• Stop if unusual pain occurs.

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