Shoulder impingement syndrome is a problem in which the rotator cuff tendon rubs under the acromion, leading to inflammation and pain in the rotator cuff tendon. Most patients with impingement syndrome will do well with conservative measures without the need for surgery, although recovery may take 3-6 months.
Physical therapy is essential to re-train the shoulder to adopt proper mechanics. Corticosteroid injection into the subacromial bursa can help temporarily relieve pain and inflammation. In some patients, the impingement syndrome will progress to an actual rotator cuff tear, or chronic scar tissue will develop, and the patient will develop chronic symptoms. In that case, surgical intervention may be required.