Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Physical Therapy (MPT)


Physical Therapy

First Advisor

Thomas Mohr


Shoulder Impingement Syndrome


Shoulder impingement syndrome (IS) is one of the most common shoulder problems seen today in the orthopaedic clinical setting. Patients exhibit symptoms of pain and discomfort due to pathomechanics of increasing pressure under the acromion. Factors related to IS include degeneration of the rotator cuff, vascular insufficiency of the supraspinatus, glenohumeral instability, muscle imbalances, bursitis, and bony impingement.

Impingement syndrome is most often classified as an overuse syndrome, although it can occur from a traumatic episode such as a blow to the shoulder or a fall. The population most affected are those in occupations that require a high number of repetitive movements of the shoulder and also athletes who perform overhead activities for an extended period of time.

Because of the many possible causes of shoulder impingement, it is important for physical therapists to know the anatomy of structures involved in the shoulder complex and the contribution of those structures to the biomechanics of upper extremity movement.

This paper focuses on the common causes of impingement syndrome and the presentation of signs and symptoms. A shoulder rehabilitation program for the general population as well as the athletic population will also be described.