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What Causes Shoulder Tendon Pain?

Shoulder tendon pain can develop when one of the four tendons that make up the rotator cuff becomes irritated or inflamed, usually after being pinched between surrounding tissues. Most often, rotator cuff tendonitis affects the supraspinatus tendon, which runs across the top of the shoulder blade and crosses over the shoulder joint, attaching to the top of the upper arm bone.

A common injury among athletes, shoulder tendon pain can result from repeated overhead arm movements, such as those involved in playing baseball, volleyball and tennis, as well as lifting weights and swimming the butterfly stroke. In addition to causing pain and tenderness in and around the shoulder joint, rotator cuff tendonitis can make it difficult to raise or hold the affected arm in certain positions.

How is rotator cuff tendonitis treated?

Shoulder tendon pain often responds well to conservative treatment. The optimal approach can depend on a number of factors, including a patient’s overall health and the amount of inflammation present. Some commonly recommended options include:

  • A brief period of rest and activity modifications
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Stretching and strengthening exercises
  • Ultrasound therapy
  • Corticosteroid injections
  • Surgery (generally reserved for severe shoulder injuries)

It is important to seek prompt medical attention for shoulder tendon pain, even if the discomfort is relatively mild. When left untreated, rotator cuff tendonitis can potentially worsen and disrupt sleep or interfere with daily activities.

At Advanced Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine of Houston, TX, our shoulder specialists offer a full range of conservative and surgical treatment options for shoulder tendon pain. Our goal is to help each patient find meaningful relief using the most conservative approach that will be effective. With that said, our patients who ultimately elect surgery are in good hands with our board-certified and double-board-certified orthopedic surgeons, who are experienced in performing arthroscopic joint and rotator cuff repairs, shoulder stabilization procedures, minimally invasive shoulder replacements and Latarjet procedures.

If you’d like to schedule an appointment to have your shoulder tendon pain evaluated by a specialist at any of our state-of-the-art orthopedic clinics located throughout the Houston, Texas, area, contact us today.