Supraspinatus Tendinitis (Painful Arc Syndrome)

The supraspinatus tendonitis is an increasingly common and painful pathology.

This pathology, which involves the shoulder is nothing but an inflammation of the supraspinatus muscle. It can cause very intense pain and functional and motor restraint, even in the most normal movements of daily life, due to its degree of inflammation and tendon calcification.

Supraspinatus Tendinitis occurs when the tendons of the rotator cuff muscle become irritated and inflamed as they pass through the subacromial space, the passage beneath the acromion.

Supraspinatus Tendinitis (Painful Arc Syndrome)

What are the causes of Supraspinatus Tendinitis?

  • Inflammation of the tendon of supraspinatus
  • Muscle imbalance
  • Repeated stressful overhead motions
  • Increased subacromial loading
  • Rotator cuff overload
  • Over stress of tendon due to muscle weakness, tight muscle, tight capsule or bony impingement
  • Poor posture and body mechanic

What are the sign & symptoms of Supraspinatus Tendinitis?

  • Loss of movement of the shoulder
  • Weakness in the shoulder and arm
  • Tenderness and swelling in the upper front part of the shoulder
  • Trauma
  • Pain/ limited of range of motion

How is Supraspinatus Tendinitis Diagnosed?

  • In straight forward cases, the patient’s history and physical exam may be all that is necessary to make a diagnosis of rotator cuff tendinosis. In some patients, extreme pain may make it difficult to adequately assess the degree of tendon disease, raising suspicion of a possible partial or full thickness rotator cuff tear.
  • Plain X-rays are generally obtained to screen for other possible causes of shoulder pain, including arthritis or calcific tendonitis. These films also show the shape of the acromion bone, presence of abnormal bone spurs and the relationship of the ball to the socket.
  • If the clinical history and exam are suspicious of a possible rotator cuff tear, an MRI with dye injected into the shoulder joint or ultrasound is the most accurate diagnostic study to assess the integrity of the tendon.
Causes of Supraspinatus Tendinitis

Physiotherapy treatments for Supraspinatus Tendinitis

At Physioclinic, our Physiotherapist will perform a thorough subjective and objective assessment and will develop a management plan for your shoulder pain.

  • Pain relief modalities: Ice therapy, electrical stimulation and therapeutic ultrasound to reduce pain and inflammation of the anterior part of the shoulder surrounding muscles.

The most used and performing therapies to do this are:

  • High power laser to inflate and soothe pain thanks to its deep analgesic and anti-inflammatory action.
  • Radial shock waves which aims to eliminate calcifications, thus increasing mobility, reducing pain due to increased vascularisation with consequent removal of inflammatory factors.
  • Exercises: Strengthening exercises such as Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) to increase stability of the shoulder and strength for rotator cuff muscles, stretching and increasing ROM exercises on the posterior joint capsule. Improve scapular control and stabilisers.
  • Manual therapy which includes joint mobilization and deep tissue massage to improve normal range of motion and decrease pain at the scapular and glenohumeral joint.
theraphy of Supraspinatus Tendinitis

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