Shoulder Tendonitis

If you are experiencing shoulder pain, there is a good chance that you are dealing with tendonitis. Shoulder tendonitis is a condition that affects the shoulder joint. The shoulder joint is a ball and socket joint, which means that it has a lot of range of motion. This also makes it prone to injury. The most common type of shoulder tendonitis is rotator cuff tendonitis. This condition affects the tendons that attach the rotator cuff muscles to the bone. In this post, we’ll discuss the causes of shoulder tendonitis, symptoms, and treatment options. 

What is Shoulder Tendonitis?

Shoulder tendonitis also called rotator cuff tendonitis, it is a condition that results when one or more of the tendons that attach muscle to bone in the shoulder become inflamed. The condition is also referred to as bursitis or tendinitis of the shoulder.

Shoulder tendonitis most often affects the rotator cuff tendons. The rotator cuff is formed up of four muscles and associated tendons that attach the shoulder blade to the upper arm bone. The rotator cuff muscles and tendons maintain the joint stable and help lift the arm.

The rotator cuff muscles and tendons are subject to wear and tear. They can become inflamed or irritated from overuse or severe injuries. The condition is more common in people who participate in sports that involve repetitive overhead motions, such as throwing or swimming. As well, it might occur in people who do not engage in particular activities.

Causes of Rotator cuff Tendonitis

There are several causes of shoulder tendonitis, some of which are more common than others. One of the most common causes is overuse of the shoulder muscles.

This can happen from repetitive activities such as pitching in baseball or serving in tennis or using the shoulder muscles in an unfamiliar way, such as when starting to lift weights. Other causes of shoulder tendonitis include

● Injury or damage to the shoulder, such as a fall or collision

● Stress on the joints from arthritis

● A tumor or cyst near the rotator cuff tendon

● Swelling in the rotator cuff, the group of muscles and tendons that surround the joint

● Poor posture or outstretched arm

● The improper technique of handling equipment

● Weight gain

Symptoms of Shoulder Tendonitis

The common symptoms of shoulder tendonitis can vary depending on the cause, but they typically include rotator cuff pain and tenderness and decreased range of motion. The pain may worsen when reaching overhead or behind the back and worse at night. Other symptoms may include

● A creaking or grinding feeling when moving the shoulder

● Dull ache pain

● Stiffness in the biceps tendon

● Numbness or tingling in the affected arm or hand

● Severe inflammation in the injured arm

Who can develop Shoulder Tendonitis?

Various risk factors can increase the likelihood of developing shoulder tendonitis, including


The risk of developing shoulder tendinitis increases with age. The tendons and muscles weaken with age, making them more susceptible to injury.


Shoulder tendonitis is more common in women than men. It may be because women have narrower shoulders, which stress the muscles and tendons more.


Employees with jobs that require repetitive overhead motions are at an increased risk of developing shoulder tendonitis. It includes occupations such as painting, carpentry, and baseball pitching.


Participation in certain sports can also increase the risk of developing shoulder tendonitis. These sports include tennis, swimming, and weightlifting.

Medical conditions

Several medical conditions can lead to shoulder tendonitis, including arthritis, diabetes, musculoskeletal and skin diseases, and thyroid problems.

How is Shoulder Tendonitis diagnosed?

Shoulder tendonitis can be diagnosed with a physical examination and a medical history. The doctor will ask about the symptoms and what activities or sports you participate in that may have led to the injury.

He or she will also examine the shoulder, which may include pressing on the shoulder muscles to check if there is any pain or tenderness. The doctor may order imaging tests such as an X-ray, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, or high-frequency sound waves to help diagnose the cause of tendonitis.

How is Rotator cuff Tendinitis treated?

The treatment for tendinitis will depend on the severity of the condition. In some cases, rest and ice may be all that is needed to reduce the pain and inflammation. The doctor may also recommend over-the-counter or prescription medications to help relieve the pain. If these conservative measures do not improve the symptoms, the doctor may recommend surgery. It may involve repairing or replacing the completely torn tendon or removing the inflamed tissue.

Which therapies can help with Rotator Cuff Tendonitis?

Several therapies can help with rotator cuff tendonitis, including


It is essential to rest the shoulder to allow the tendons and muscles to heal. This may mean avoiding activities that stress the shoulder, such as lifting weights or playing tennis.


Applying ice to the shoulder for twenty minutes several times a day can help reduce inflammation and swelling.


Applying heat to the shoulder can also help relieve pain. Do this with a heating pad, warm towel, or warm compress.


Doing gentle stretches of the shoulder muscles can help keep them loose and reduce pain.


Once the pain and inflammation have subsided, exercises that strengthen the shoulder muscles can help prevent recurrent injury.

Physical therapy

A physical therapist can help teaching you exercises to stretch and strengthen the shoulder muscles. They may also use ultrasound or electrical stimulation modalities to help reduce swelling and pain.

Prevention of Shoulder Tendonitis

It is not always possible to avoid the condition, but there are some things that you can do to reduce your risk. These include

● Resting the shoulder muscles after activity

● Performing stretching exercises to maintain range of motion

● Wearing a brace or sling to support the shoulder joint

● Participating in low-impact activities, such as swimming or cycling

● Maintaining a healthy weight

● Correcting poor posture

● Avoiding repetitive motion exercises and awkward positions

How long does it take for tendonitis to heal in the shoulder?

It is difficult to answer because the treatment plan and period for tendonitis can vary depending on the cause of the inflammation and the person’s overall health. In some cases, tendonitis may clear up within a few weeks, while it could take months or even years in others.

You can do many things to promote healing, such as resting the affected area, applying ice, and taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication. If you are still experiencing pain after several weeks of home treatment, it is best to consult with a doctor to rule out any other potential causes of your pain.

Final Thoughts

Shoulder tendonitis is a condition that can be caused by repetitive motions or overuse. If you are experiencing shoulder pain, it’s essential to seek medical attention to determine the cause of your pain and to receive treatment.

Many treatments are available, including rest, ice, physical therapy, and corticosteroid injections. Surgery may also be an option in some cases. With proper treatment, most people with shoulder tendonitis can return to normal activities.