Shoulder Tendinopathy

(Shoulder Tendonitis; Shoulder Tendinosis; Bicipital Tendinopathy; Bicipital Tendonitis; Bicipital Tendinosis; Supraspinatus Tendinopathy; Supraspinatus Tendonitis;Supraspinatus Tendinosis; Pitcher's Shoulder; Swimmer's Shoulder; Tennis Shoulder)

Definition

The tendons connect muscle to bone and often connect near a joint. Tendinopathy is an injury to the tendon, causing pain, inflammation, and limited movement. Tendinopathy may be:
  • Tendonitis—inflammation of the tendon (less common)
  • Tendinosis—tiny tears in the tendon with no significant inflammation (more common)
There are several tendons in the shoulder. They are attached to muscles of the rotator cuff and the biceps muscle of the arm.
Shoulder Tendons
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Causes

Tendinopathy is generally caused by overuse of a muscle and tendon. Over time, the strain on the tendon causes the structure of the tendon to change.Shoulder tendons are overused most often with:
  • Repeated reaching overhead
  • Repeated throwing
Shoulder tendinopathy may also be caused by:
  • Inflammatory disease in the shoulder, such as arthritis
  • Trauma to the shoulder
  • Fall on outstretched arms
  • Normal wear and tear associated with age

Risk Factors

Shoulder tendinopathy is more common in people 30 years and older. Other factors that may increase your chance of shoulder tendinopathy include:
  • Always using the arm in an overhead position or throwing motion, as in:
    • Tennis or other racquet sports
    • Swimming
    • Baseball
    • Certain jobs, such as overhead assembly work, butchering, or using an overhead pressing machine

Symptoms

Symptoms develop gradually over time. Pain usually slowly increases with use.Tendinopathy may cause:
  • Pain (a dull ache) in the shoulder and upper arm
  • Pain at night, especially when sleeping on the injured side
  • Pain when trying to reach for a back zipper or pocket
  • Pain with overhead use of the arm
  • Shoulder weakness, usually due to pain with effort
  • Shoulder stiffness with some loss of motion

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