Shoulder Impingement Syndrome in the Child Athlete

Shoulder impingement syndrome is a common diagnosis given to children who are suffering from shoulder pain after an accidental injury. While parents believe this is the diagnosis of the shoulder complication, the identification of a syndrome is simply a method by which a physician identifies a variety of symptoms. If your child has been diagnosed with shoulder impingement syndrome, it is important to understand what the underlying condition may be, and how to treat the condition properly.

As children develop, the tendons and muscles in the upper extremities can be subjected to injury rather easily, especially when engaging in physical fitness or sports activities. When the tendons or muscles become inflamed, swollen, and painful, a condition known as rotator cuff tendinitis may be diagnosed. When this form of tendinitis causes an inability to move the actual shoulder joint, then impingement syndrome is diagnosed as a supplement to the tendinitis.

No matter what type of tendinitis or injury your child experiences, in any joint, if there is a lack of mobility or range of motion, you can typically expect a secondary diagnosis to be identified. In most cases, an impingement syndrome is given. This diagnosis, especially in shoulder impingement syndrome, is important as it then becomes the primary concern as restoration of range of motion and function becomes necessary for healing.

Once your child is confirmed as suffering from a shoulder injury, leading to shoulder impingement syndrome, you can expect that an orthopedic surgeon will need to be consulted. While some forms of impingement may be related to calcific tendinitis, there are some conditions that may lead to frozen shoulder syndrome – a condition that often requires surgical intervention. For this reason, following the orthopedic surgeon’s instructions, with regard to treatment and rehabilitation, will be vital to your child’s long term health.

Children face many health complications and risks in response to their level of physical fitness and sports involvement. Whenever your child is complaining of shoulder pain, always seek out medical treatment to determine if impingement syndrome is a risk and what treatment you can apply to mitigate the complication from developing. Without medical attention, your child may suffer not only shoulder impingement syndrome but also develop a frozen shoulder which then poses lifelong health concerns.

Sources: Clinical Examination of the Shoulder, by Todd Ellenbecker

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