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Tendonitis of the shoulder is an inflammation of the rotator cuff and/or biceps tendon. Shoulder tendonitis is usually the result of a tendon being pinched by surrounding structures. Shoulder tendonitis often occurs in certain sports that require the arm to move over the head repeatedly, such as in baseball, weightlifting, racket sports, and certain swimming strokes. The injury may vary from mild inflammation to involvement of most of the rotator cuff. When the rotator cuff tendon becomes inflamed and thickened, also known as rotator cuff tendonitis, it may get trapped under the acromion (the roof, or highest point, of the shoulder that is formed by a part of the scapula, or shoulder blade).
The following are the most common symptoms of shoulder tendonitis. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
Inability to hold arm in certain positions
Pain or tenderness in the shoulder
The symptoms of shoulder tendonitis may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult a doctor for a diagnosis.
In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, diagnostic procedures for shoulder tendonitis may include an X-ray (a diagnostic test that uses invisible electromagnetic energy beams to produce images of internal tissues, bones, and organs onto film), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and/or ultrasound.
Specific treatment for shoulder tendonitis will be determined by your doctor based on:
Your age, overall health, and medical history
Extent of the condition
Your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
Expectations for the course of the condition
Your opinion or preference
Treatment may include:
Ice or heat
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications
Surgery (for severe injuries)
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