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What are the symptoms of shoulder tendonitis?

Shoulder tendonitis is a common condition that can cause significant pain and limit function in the shoulder. It occurs when the tendons in the shoulder, often those of the rotator cuff, become irritated or inflamed due to overuse, repetitive motions, or trauma.

What are the symptoms of shoulder tendonitis?

Symptoms of shoulder tendinitis can vary in intensity and duration. They may appear gradually or acutely, depending on the underlying cause and the severity of the inflammation.

  • Pain is the main symptom of shoulder tendinitis. It often manifests as a dull, persistent ache, located on the outside of the shoulder and may extend into the arm. The pain may be exacerbated by specific movements, such as raising the arm, reaching behind the back, or lifting objects. It may also be worse at night, making it difficult to sleep on the affected side.

  • Tenderness is common in shoulder tendinitis. The area around the shoulder may be tend to the touch, especially over the rotator cuff tendons. This tenderness may increase with pressure or movement, indicating inflammation of the underlying tendons.

  • Shoulder stiffness is another common symptom. Patients may have difficulty performing certain movements, particularly those involving a high range of exercise. This functional discomfort, which can be more or less disabling, is often the result of inflammation and thickening of the tendons, limiting the mobility of the shoulder joint.

  • In some cases, swelling may be observed around the shoulder. Although less common than other symptoms, swelling may indicate severe inflammation or the presence of synovial effusion. This swelling may be visible to the naked eye or detected by palpation. In addition, redness may also be visible.

  • Crepitus, or a popping or grinding sensation in the shoulder, can occur during movement. These sensations are often the result of inflammation of the tendons and increased friction between structures in the shoulder. Crepitus may be accompanied by pain and may signal ongoing irritation of the tendons.

How to treat shoulder tendinitis?

Treatment of shoulder tendinitis aims to reduce inflammation, relieve pain and restore shoulder function.

Rest is often the first step in treatment. It is essential to reduce or eliminate activities that worsen symptoms to allow tendons to heal. It will be accompanied by non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or analgesics. Physiotherapy may be indicated to strengthen the muscles of the rotator cuff (a specific exercise program to strengthen the muscles of the shoulder, improve flexibility and restore function).

If the pain persists, an injection of steroids, hyaluronic acid, or PRP may relieve the pain.

Surgery is not the standard treatment for shoulder pain. It is rarely needed to treat tendinitis but may be considered in severe cases or refractory to conservative treatments.

Rehabilitation through physiotherapy is the main pillar of treatment. It consists of learning and performing a set of specific exercises. It helps to alleviate and then to make the pain disappear.

Can tendinitis be prevented?

Prevention of shoulder tendinitis is possible! It is based on the adoption of measures to reduce the risk of overuse and irritation of the tendons. Usually, it is your cinematographer who gives you personalized advice tailored to your profile. Of course, the most effective prevention is regular physical activity.

  • Warming up and stretching

  • Muscle strengthening

  • Appropriate lifting techniques

  • Reduction of repetitive movements

  • Maintaining a good posture

  • No carrying heavy loads

  • Medical follow-up


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