Subacromial Impingement (shoulder injury)


  • The pain often is felt over the top of the shoulder and upper arm and may be particularly noticeable at night (especially lying on it)
  • Pain during the back swing when playing golf, or in the forward swing of serving when playing tennis
  • Pain with movements such as putting a coat on, or reaching to a shelf

Common causes

  • Rotator cuff tear or insufficiency
  • Bony spurs
  • Calcific tendinitis
  • Bony abnormalities


Most consultants advise that the first line of treatment for this condition should be physiotherapy, as it is non-invasive (no surgery). This can involve:

  • Rotator cuff exercises
  • Manual therapy
  • Scapula retraining
  • Posture correction
  • Lifestyle modifications
  • Kinesiology taping, as a useful adjunct to treating subacromial impingement
  • Working together with your tennis coach, golf pro or personal trainer to correct your technique, as this will optimise your rehab

At Vitality Physiotherapy, your physiotherapist will consider the local (within the structure of the shoulder), as well as the entire kinematic chain (the other joints and muscle groups that support and optimise the function of the shoulder) to treat your problem.

(Golfer image by Fevi Yu).