Shoulder tendinitis is a common condition that causes pain and inflammation in the rotator cuff tendon or the bicep tendon. It can be caused by overuse, repetitive motions, or a sudden injury that can occur from poor form. The pain from tendinitis is often dull and also causes stiffness in the area, limiting the range of motion of your shoulder and arm.
This condition is very common, and treatment can range from conservative methods to minimally invasive techniques. Continue reading to find out how shoulder tendinitis is usually treated.
Rest Your Shoulder and Apply Ice
The first step in treating shoulder tendinitis is rest. Resting your arm allows the inflamed tendon to heal without further irritation from activities or movement. Your doctor may also recommend taking anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen or naproxen to reduce swelling and pain associated with this condition. Applying an ice pack directly on the affected area for 15 minutes at a time several times a day may also help alleviate discomfort associated with this condition, as well as reduce inflammation of the tendon itself.
Begin Physical Therapy
Once the initial inflammation has subsided, physical therapy may be recommended to help improve range of motion, strength, and flexibility in the shoulder. This can include exercises such as shoulder stretches, resistance training, and range of motion exercises. A physical therapist can also provide guidance on proper technique and form to prevent further injury.
Examples of exercises for shoulder tendinitis you can do at home include:
- Shoulder Blade Squeeze: This exercise helps strengthen the muscles around your shoulder blade, which can help relieve pain from an inflamed tendon. To perform this exercise, stand with your arms at your sides and squeeze your shoulder blades together as if you were trying to pinch something between them. Hold for 10 seconds, then release and repeat 4-5 times per session.
- Wall Push-Ups: This exercise strengthens the chest muscles, while stretching out tight shoulder muscles caused by tendon inflammation. Stand facing a wall about an arm’s length away with your feet hip-width apart. Place your hands on the wall, keeping them at chest height. Bend your elbows back until they reach a 90-degree angle, then push yourself back up to the starting position. Repeat this 4-5 times per session or as tolerated.
- Resistance Band Rows: This exercise helps strengthen the upper back muscles while providing support for weakened rotator cuff muscle groups. Secure one end of a resistance band under one foot while holding onto the other end using both hands extended straight out ahead of you. Keeping your arms straight, pull the band towards your chest, squeezing your shoulder blades together, before slowly returning to the starting position. Repeat this 4-5 times or as tolerated.
- Doorway Stretch: This stretch targets tight pectoralis minor muscle groups, which can be a contributing factor to shoulder tendinitis. To perform a doorway stretch, stand inside the doorway frame and place both forearms against the door frame while keeping your elbows bent at a 90-degree angle. Gently lean into the door frame. You should feel tension across your shoulders. Hold it for 30 seconds and repeat at least four times per session.
See a Shoulder Specialist
Sometimes, conservative treatments are not enough. In such situations, a shoulder surgeon can provide minimally invasive treatments, such as steroid injections, to ease pain from shoulder tendinitis. Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy has also been shown to be effective at boosting the healing of an injured tendon. If your symptoms still persist, your doctor may recommend arthroscopic repair of the shoulder, which involves cleaning up the tissues around the shoulder joint and stitching up the damaged tendon. However, this is typically a last resort for shoulder tendinitis patients.
Shoulder Tendinitis Treatment in Miami Lakes and Plantation, FL
If you are dealing with shoulder tendinitis and want better results from treatment, consult board-certified orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Tosca Kinchelow at The Orthopaedic Hand and Arm Center. Dr. Kinchelow has specialized training in the treatment of elbow and shoulder conditions, as well as hand and wrist conditions.
If your shoulder tendinitis is a result of sports, exercise, or your occupation, Dr. Kinchelow has the expertise needed to bring you lasting relief from your symptoms. To schedule a consultation, call our office today at (888) 908-9036, or use our convenient online request form.