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Tendonitis of the shoulder


Shoulder tendonitis is an inflammation of the tendons, particularly those belonging to a group of four muscles, whose common function is the rotation of the shoulder. It is in most cases due to excessive stress on the tendons connected to these muscles, causing their inflammation. But shoulder tendonitis can also be caused by other conditions, such as a single trauma or repetitive trauma, inflammatory diseases, crystal deposits in the tendon, infectious diseases, etc. Because of these multiple origins, the preferred term to use is "tendinitis" to refer to conditions causing pain in the tendons.


The symptoms of tendonitis of the shoulder are:
  • a sharp pain in the shoulder in certain positions or during certain movements;
  • difficulty moving the shoulder, which becomes inflexible or stiff;
  • pain upon palpation of certain areas of the shoulder;
  • sometimes, a slight swelling of the painful area.


The diagnosis of shoulder tendonitis is made through an examination to determine the practices of the subject and the movements he makes repeatedly. The circumstances that cause the pain and the factors that increase or decrease the latter are sought. An affected tendon is suspected in the absence of pain upon passive motion of the shoulder, i.e. when it is the doctor who performs the arm movements. Additionally, medical examinations will be performed, such as a blood test to look for a biological inflammation. Radiography may demonstrate signs of calcification of tendons and an X-ray or MRI may also be performed.


The treatment of tendinitis of the shoulder requires rest with the limiting of movements. Cold compresses, anti-inflammatory drugs or sometimes local injections of corticosteroids will reduce painful symptoms. Rehabilitation with physiotherapy is often beneficial. In case of tendon rupture, surgery is necessary.


To prevent tendonitis of the arm and shoulder, it is necessary to warm up and stretch one's muscles before physical activity. Repeated movements as well as trauma should be avoided if possible.

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