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What are the symptoms of rotator cuff tendinitis?

Rotator cuff tendinitis is inflammation of the connective tissues that help the shoulder to move. The condition is also called an impinged shoulder or impingement syndrome.

This form of tendinitis can be very painful and may prevent a person from performing everyday activities. When the condition is mild, a person can usually treat it with rest, home remedies, and by practicing certain exercises.

More severe cases of tendinitis tend to respond well to steroid injections or surgery.

What are the symptoms?

People often develop rotator cuff tendinitis by doing repeated movements, such as reaching or lifting overhead.

Symptoms are usually mild at first. The most common symptoms include:

  • pain when raising or lowering the arm
  • shoulder stiffness
  • minor pain, even when the shoulder is still
  • swelling and tenderness at the front of the shoulder
  • pain that extends from the front to the side of the shoulder
  • sudden, sharp pain when reaching or lifting
  • a clicking sound when using the shoulder

Playing some sports involves moving in ways that tend to become painful as rotator cuff tendinitis develops.

Problematic movements can include:

  • pitching a baseball
  • serving a tennis ball
  • serving or spiking a volleyball
  • using the arm to propel forward in swimming

Symptoms become more severe and persistent as rotator cuff tendinitis progresses. This can cause problems, such as:

  • pain during the night that can wake a person up or require changing positions
  • loss of strength and mobility in the shoulder
  • difficulty reaching behind the back

If rotator cuff tendinitis develops suddenly because of an injury, the shoulder will usually be extremely tender or painful. A person may be unable to move it.



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