Shoulder Tendinopathy

Shoulder tendinopathy is a condition that involves inflammation or degeneration of the tendons in the shoulder joint. The condition is often caused by repetitive overuse of the shoulder, such as in athletes or workers who engage in repetitive overhead movements. It can also be caused by traumatic injuries to the shoulder, or by underlying medical conditions such as arthritis.

Causes of Shoulder Tendinopathy

Shoulder tendinopathy can be caused by a number of factors, including:

Overuse or repetitive strain: Activities that require repetitive overhead movements, such as throwing a ball or swimming, can cause strain and inflammation in the tendons of the shoulder joint over time.

Traumatic injury: A sudden injury to the shoulder joint, such as a fall or impact, can cause damage to the tendons and lead to tendinopathy.

Aging: Tendons in the shoulder joint can degenerate over time due to natural aging processes, making them more susceptible to injury and inflammation.

Poor posture or mechanics: Poor posture or improper mechanics during activities can place additional stress on the tendons of the shoulder joint and contribute to tendinopathy.

Underlying medical conditions: Medical conditions such as arthritis or diabetes can weaken the tendons of the shoulder joint and increase the risk of tendinopathy.

It is important to identify and address the underlying cause of shoulder tendinopathy in order to effectively manage and treat the condition.

Signs and Symptoms of Shoulder Tendinopathy

The signs and symptoms of shoulder tendinopathy may vary from person to person but can include:

  • Pain and tenderness in the shoulder: The pain may be dull or sharp, and may worsen with certain movements of the shoulder.
  • Stiffness in the shoulder joint: The shoulder may feel stiff and difficult to move, especially in the morning or after prolonged periods of rest.
  • Weakness in the shoulder: The shoulder may feel weak and may be difficult to lift or move.
  • Limited range of motion: The shoulder may have a limited range of motion, making it difficult to perform certain activities or movements.
  • Swelling or redness in the shoulder: In some cases, there may be visible swelling or redness around the shoulder joint.
  • Clicking or popping sounds: Some people may experience clicking or popping sounds when moving the shoulder joint.

It is important to seek medical attention if you are experiencing any of these symptoms, as shoulder tendinopathy can lead to further complications if left untreated. Your doctor or physiotherapist can provide an accurate diagnosis and develop an appropriate treatment plan for your specific needs.

Treatment for Shoulder Tendinopathy

Physiotherapy treatment for shoulder tendinopathy typically involves a combination of modalities to reduce pain and inflammation, promote healing and improve range of motion and strength. Some common physiotherapy treatments for shoulder tendinopathy include:

Rest and activity modification: Rest is important to allow the tendons to heal. Your physiotherapist may recommend modifying or reducing activities that aggravate the shoulder and may provide advice on proper technique and form during activities to reduce stress on the shoulder joint.

Manual therapy: Manual therapy techniques such as massage, mobilization, and manipulation can help to reduce pain, and stiffness and improve the range of motion in the shoulder joint.

Exercise therapy: Exercise therapy can help to strengthen the muscles around the shoulder joint and improve joint stability. Your physiotherapist will design a customized exercise program to meet your specific needs and goals.

Electrotherapy: Modalities such as ultrasound, electrical stimulation, and laser therapy can help to reduce pain and inflammation in the shoulder joint.

Education and self-management: Your physiotherapist can provide education on proper posture and body mechanics, as well as advice on self-management strategies such as ice and heat therapy, stretching and strengthening exercises, and ergonomic modifications to your work environment.

It is important to work closely with your physiotherapist to develop an individualized treatment plan that addresses your specific needs and goals, and to follow through with recommended exercises and self-management strategies to ensure optimal outcomes.

If you have any questions or would like to speak to a therapist about shoulder tendinopathy please call us at 03 9836 1126.



Hegedus, E. J., Goode, A. P., Cook, C. E., Michener, L., Myer, C. A., Myer, D. M., … & Wright, A. A. (2015). Which physical examination tests provide clinicians with the most value when examining the shoulder? Update of a systematic review with meta-analysis of individual tests. British Journal of Sports Medicine

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