Diagnose

A doctor trained to treat shoulder problems, like an orthopaedic surgeon, will test your range of motion, strength and stability during a physical exam.

  • An x-ray may be used to see if there are other bone problems, such as fractures or growth plate injuries.
  • An MRI can pinpoint injuries to the shoulder joint or tears in the cartilage.

Treat

  • Use modified workouts and rest the shoulder until the pain is gone
  • Ice and anti-inflammatory medicine to ease the pain
  • Physical therapy for six to eight weeks to improve strength, range of motion and stability

Prevent

For all sports, stop playing or practice if you have shoulder pain. Here are some tips to prevent shoulder impingement for specific sports:

Baseball or softball

  • Change positions for easier throws.
  • Avoid overuse.
  • Have an expert assess throwing motion.
  • Hit only if it doesn’t make the pain worse.

Tennis

  • Reduce overhead motion because it can cause more stress on the shoulder than ground strokes.
  • Reduce serves and overhead shots.

Swimming

  • Train in slower lane to reduce pain.
  • Stop land workouts or exercises if they overwork painful shoulder.
  • Don’t use aids like kick boards if they cause pain.
  • Avoid stretching with a partner because this can overstretch the shoulder and cause injury.
  • Have a coach evaluate stroke mechanics.

Volleyball

  • Avoid hitting, serving and repetitive setting if they cause pain.

Gymnastics and cheerleading

  • Avoid handsprings, tumbling passes, walkovers or other weight-bearing stunts.
  • Avoid handstands, push-ups, punches and giants if they cause pain.