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Shoulder Impingement Treatment

Dr. Pamela Mehta, MD
Shoulder Surgeon in San Jose

Guide to Shoulder Impingement treatment in San Jose

Dr. Pamela Mehta is an experienced shoulder surgeon renowned for her expertise in sports injuries and joint arthritis. She is the founder of Resilience Orthopedics.

With an impressive career and training under leading innovators, she has served as Chief of Orthopedics and National Orthopedic Director for a major orthopedic hospitalist group and advises several publicly traded companies.

Pamela Mehta

Table of Contents

What is Shoulder Impingement?

Shoulder impingement makes up roughly half of all shoulder pain seen by shoulder surgeons. It is often seen in those who spend a lot of time performing overhead movements. This includes groups like swimmers and construction workers. 

Impingement involves the swelling and trapping of your rotator cuff tendon. This rubs and gets caught between your humerus (long upper arm bone) and acromion.

The acromion is an extension to the top part of your shoulder blade. The gap between this and the rotator cuff muscles narrows when you lift your arms above your head.  Any further narrowing of this subacromial space can cause pain, swelling, and stiffness.

Shoulder impingement joint and shoulder pain symptoms

Causes of Shoulder Impingement

These symptoms can be caused by:

  • Rotator cuff tendonitis. Irritation of your rotator cuff tendons (usually of the supraspinatus muscle) as they rub against your acromion.
  • Shoulder bursitis. Inflammation of the fluid filled sac sitting under the acromion. This normally helps to lubricate your shoulder movements, but causes pain when inflamed.
  • Impingement. The trapping of your tendon as it gets caught in the narrow subacromial space

Shoulder impingement often comes on gradually. It causes pain when you lift your arm and eventually can give you pain all the time. Causes of shoulder impingement include:

  • Shoulder injuries such as rotator cuff injuries and shoulder dislocation.
  • Sports that involve repetitive overhead movements such as swimming, baseball, and tennis.
  • Jobs that require repetitive overhead movements such as construction workers, painters, or electricians.
  • Thickening or calcification of your shoulder ligaments, usually due to age.
  • Bony spurs in your shoulder joint due to arthritis or anatomical variations.

Some people get a condition called internal shoulder impingement (posterior shoulder impingement). This is a separate condition that occurs in those that take part in activities that make you reach your arm all the way back, such when a baseball pitcher reaches their arm back before throwing. Internal shoulder impingement involves the glenohumeral joint rather than the acromial space.

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The Best Orthopedic Surgeon in San Jose

Dr. Mehta is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon who can help you recover from your joint condition.

We can help if you:

Shoulder Impingement Symptoms

If you get pain in your shoulder when you try to lift your arms above your head, you might have shoulder impingement. The pain often comes on gradually, then worsens over weeks to months.

Symptoms of shoulder impingement include:

  • Sudden pain in your shoulder when you lift your arms up
  • As the inflammation worsens, constant pain at rest and at night
  • Stiffness in your shoulder movements
  • Difficulty reaching behind your back, like when getting something out of your back pocket
  • Weakness and loss of strength in your shoulder
  • Difficulty sleeping on your affected shoulder at night
Shoulder impingement pain explained

 Often once the pain starts you end up in a vicious cycle. The impingement first causes swelling. This narrows the subacromial space further, which then causes more swelling.

If you are experiencing these symptoms, it’s important that you visit a local shoulder surgeon. The sooner it’s treated, the quicker you’ll recover.


When you see Dr. Mehta, she will examine the pain and movement in your shoulder joint. She will rule in and out possible causes of pain, and if there are any symptoms which need urgent attention.

Following examination, you may need further tests including an x-ray or a shoulder MRI. These tests help to identify the cause of your pain and rule out any serious injuries which may need an injection or surgery.

Cortisone Injection in San Jose


Cheryl P
Oakland, CA
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Everyone told me shoulder surgery is the worst. Dr Mehta did mine and I have fantastic results. I was on workmans comp and it can be difficult to find a great surgeon because of that. I got in to see her immediately and got an injection after the first meeting. Went back as the injection was not effective. Even though I am a nurse she explained everything very thoroughly. I was scheduled for surgery 2 weeks after we decided this was the best alternative. I highly recommend Dr Mehta.
R D Moon
Google Review
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“My first impression of Dr Mehta was her ease and confidence. She entered the room beaming w/ interest in me & my concern. Her order of business was precise, efficient and fast. Her diagnosis was a relief and her solution was immediate. I recommend her with all my energy. Her skills are first rate, her manner is first rate, her attention is first rate and her solutions are first rate. Need I say more? Oh yes! She is entirely likable and charming, too. I'm just crazy for her and her staff, too!”

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Take the first step in getting back to your normal self, and book an appointment with Dr. Mehta today.

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What Shoulder Services Do We Offer?

Shoulder Pain Assessment

Shoulder Pain is frustrating and can impact both your sleep and your mental health. Dr. Mehta is a shoulder doctor and can diagnose your pain, offering various surgical and non-surgical treatments.

Shoulder Surgery

If your shoulder condition is severe, or nothing you have tried has helped, Dr. Mehta can advise you on the options for surgery. She is a shoulder specialist and can offer expert opinion and care.

Treatment of Shoulder Conditions


Frozen Shoulder

Frozen shoulder makes your shoulder stiff and can make movement painful.

Bicep Tendinitis

Bicep tendonitis causes pain in your upper arm and can lead to a bicep tendon tear.

Shoulder Impingement

Shoulder impingement makes it difficult to raise your arms above your head.

Shoulder Separation

Shoulder separation is a sprain in the AC joint near your shoulder.

Shoulder Bursitis

Shoulder bursitis gives you a tender shoulder and makes it difficult to sleep.

Rotator Cuff Tear

Rotator cuff tears can occur during sports and make overhead movements difficult.

Dislocated Shoulder

Shoulder dislocation causes a disformed and painful shoulder and can be recurrent.

Bone Spurs

Bone spurs can form over time and cause pain and impingement.

And Many More!

Dr. Mehta offers diagnosis and treatment of all shoulder conditions and can offer her specialist opinion as an expert shoulder doctor.

Expert Advice For Shoulder Problems