An inflammation of the shoulder’s tendons is known as shoulder tendonitis. Tendons play a major role in the formation of the shoulder joint and help in the shoulder’s movement. This frequent motion means that the tendons are prone to inflammation, pain and injury. Certain kinds of sports, where the arm has to move frequently over the head — such as baseball, tennis, weight lifting and swimming — tend to increase the chances of such injury. If this type of injury carries on for a prolonged period of time, then it can even lead to the rotator cuff tearing.
The most common symptom of this problem is pain in the shoulder. This pain can either be gradual or sudden. In some cases, especially for those engaged in sports, the pain can occur suddenly at the moment when the injury occurs. The side and front of the shoulder is where the pain is generally concentrated, and tends to increase as the shoulder goes further and further away from the body. This pain can increase at night when the person’s sleeping posture puts additional pressure on the injured shoulder. However, if the rotator cuff tears off completely then the pain is most likely to be a constant one. In such severe cases the injured person might not even be able to lift his or her arm from his or her side. There might also be cases where a popping or a clicking sound is heard every time the shoulder is moved, or the shoulder might seem to get jammed momentarily.
A thorough physical examination is likely to highlight the fact that the shoulder is tender every time it is forced to move, especially when the arm moves over the head. The MRI scan helps distinguish between shoulder tendonitis and bone spur, and even detect a tear in the rotator cuff muscle.
To help heal shoulder tendonitis, it is important that the shoulder is not made to perform those very actions that caused the problem in the first place. Along with rest, it is also a good idea to apply ice packs and anti-inflammatory injections that are non-steroidal. Steroid injections may be used if the pain is too severe to allow physiotherapy. You should follow some simple exercises, like those highlighted in my book “Treat your Shoulder Pain Free”. In case of a total tear in the rotator cuff muscle, surgery might also be necessary. Small and large tears and inflamed tissues can be treated using
anthroscopic keyhole surgery.