Rotator Cuff Tendinitis/Bursitis/ Impingement

Rotator cuff tendinitis is inflammation and early deterioration of the rotator cuff tendons. Rotator cuff tendinitis can occur for a variety of reasons. Overuse of the shoulder is almost always part of the problem. In some patients, a bone spur under the acromion can rub on the rotator cuff leading to tendinitis or bursitis (inflammation of the bursa). When the arm is in the overhead position this can cause pain. This particular form of tendinitis is referred to as shoulder impingement. This may also contribute to rotator cuff tearing over time.


The initial treatment for rotator cuff tendinitis is activity modification, physical therapy, and anti-inflammatory medications. If this is unsuccessful, an injection of steroid (or cortisone) around the rotator cuff can improve symptoms.

If pain persists despite these measures, patients may be candidates for arthroscopic surgery. This involves cleaning out the inflamed tissue around the rotator cuff (bursa) and removing any bone spurs that may be rubbing against it. This can be done in a minimally invasive arthroscopic fashion through small incisions on an outpatient basis.

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