Subacromial Impingement | Prevent and Treat Supraspinatus Tendinopathy

By healthiergang writer , majoring in Medicine and Surgery.

Subacromial Impingement or Supraspinatus Tendinopathy

The supraspinatus tendinopathy is a painful syndrome of the shoulder caused by a compression of the tendon of the supraspinatus muscle during the elevation of the arm, very common among athletes.

To better understand its nature, however, a small journey is required within the complex musculoskeletal structure of the shoulder.

A little bit of anatomy

The rotator cuff is made up of four muscles with their tendons (supraspinatus, infraspinatus, subscapularis and teres minor); some of them are located below the acromion, a small bony roof extension of the scapula, within a space called “subacromial”, which must be of such a width as to allow the tendons to slide. To facilitate the movements of this complex joint, there is a bag filled with lubricating fluid.

Subacromial Impingement | Prevent and Treat Supraspinatus Tendinopathy

Whenever, for sporting or work reasons, the arm is raised over 90 ° with respect to the trunk, there is a narrowing of the space between the humeral head and the acromion; so the repetitiveness of these movements, over time, will cause the development of an inflammatory state.

Exercises such as chin pulls, lateral lifts in internal rotation, bench without adequate arch, predispose to the onset of this syndrome, so it is advisable to maintain a nice vertebral arch while performing bench press exercises; if we then extrarotate the humerus during the lateral lifts, our supraspinatus will be immune from any insult.

Three stages of gravity

The disease has three stages of severity:

  •  in the first there is inflammation of the tendons and reduced motor capacity;
  •  in the second stage the degeneration of the tendon begins and the pain becomes more and more intense;
  • in the last stage there is complete rupture of the rotator cuff.

The onset symptom is represented by a shoulder pain, spontaneous or secondary to a light trauma, accompanied by a progressive reduction of joint motility and the appearance of pain even during night rest.

The diagnosis is made by the orthopedist or physiatrist, who must be consulted as soon as possible, after a careful visit and often the request for tests such as an ultrasound or magnetic resonance, to assess the state of the joint.


Treatment of the syndrome depends on the stage of the disease and the severity of the symptoms.

Prevention is better than cure

Since the lack of tone of the rotator cuff is one of the main causes determining subacromial impingement, it is essential to face specific work to prevent this annoying phenomenon and to face your workouts serenely.

The exercises that can help us in our goal par excellence are the intra and external rotation of the adducted humerus, using modest weights.

Other useful exercises are:

  • rower with elastic from stand up;
  • abductions with the arm flexed to 120 ° on the plane of the scapula;
  • floor press;
  • military press;
  • pull down.

Last but not least, stretching, which allows us, if done properly, to improve joint mobility, treat and prevent supraspinatus tendinopathy.

Good workout!

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