Impingement Syndrome: Symptoms & Signs

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Medically Reviewed on 3/22/2019

Impingement syndrome is a common condition affecting the shoulder. It is common in older adults. Impingement syndrome can occur together with rotator cuff tendonitis or shoulder bursitis.

Signs and symptoms of shoulder impingement syndrome include shoulder joint pain with overhead use of the arm, limited range of motion, and joint stiffness. Other associated symptoms can include neck pain, arm pain, and muscle weakness. There is difficulty with reaching the arm overhead or reaching the arm up behind the back. The condition may progress with time to rupture of the muscle.

Causes of impingement syndrome

The cause of impingement syndrome is swelling of the rotator cuff muscles that increases pressure and reduces blood flow to the muscle, ultimately leading to muscle damage.


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/22/2019

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