Ask the Physical Therapy Expert – Peter Joosten


Ask the Physical Therapy Expert –   Peter Joosten

What is Shoulder Tendonitis? Shoulder tendonitis (or tendinitis) is an inflammation injury to the tendons of your shoulder’s rotator cuff. Because inflammation is not always present in injuries to the shoulder tendons, this group of injuries are medically known as a rotator cuff tendinopathy or tendinopathies.

What Causes Shoulder Tendonitis?

The most common cause of shoulder tendonitis is repeated microtrauma to the rotator cuff tendons rather than a specific one-off trauma.

What are the Symptoms of Shoulder Tendonitis?

  • Shoulder clicking and/or an arc of shoulder pain when your arm is about shoulder height.
  • Pain when lying on the sore shoulder or lifting with a straight arm.
  • Shoulder pain or clicking when move your hand behind your back or head.
  • Shoulder and upper arm pain (potentially as far as your elbow).
  • As your shoulder tendonitis deteriorates, your shoulder pain may even be present at rest.

Shoulder Tendonitis Treatment

As with most soft tissue injuries the initial treatment is Rest, Ice, and Support. Your physiotherapist will guide you and utilize a range of pain relieving techniques including joint mobilizations, deep transfers frictions, massage, acupuncture or dry needling to assist you during this pain-full phase. To support and protect your tendon injury, you may need to be wear a sling or have your shoulder taped to provide pain relief. In some cases it may mean that you need to sleep relatively upright or with pillow support. Your physiotherapist will guide you. Ice is a simple and effective modality to reduce your pain and swelling. Please apply for 20-30 minutes each 2 to 4 hours during the initial phase or when you notice that your injury is warm or hot.