Shoulder impingement tips

Shoulder impingement physical therapy is the website that shows the picture above.  

A common problem of the shoulder is impingement.  It is mentioned in a blog below but we need to talk more about it. Impingement is pinching of the supraspinatus, biceps, or the subacromial bursa in between the humerus, coracoid process,  acromion, and coroacromial ligament.

It can be tested in a simple manner for some basic idea if you have impingement by ….

  1. Reaching your hand behind your back
  2. Reaching across your body
  3. Reaching above 90 degrees

If you have pain with these activities you may have impingement. Your Doctor and Physical therapist can do some testing as well to help determine if you have impingement. They can do the Hawkins Kennedy test, Neers test, and possibly MRI if the physician deems appropriate.  Some statistical findings for assessing impingement of the shoulder are listed below. If your shoulder hurts ask your Medical Doctor, Physical therapist, or Occupational therapist about these tests.

MRI – accuracy for ruling it out 93%, Accuracy for ruling it in 87% J Fam Prac 2002 Neers test 79 % accuracy for ruling it out and accuracy for ruling it in 53% Br J Sports Med.2008 Feb;42(2):80-92; discussion 92. Epub 2007 Aug tests.Hegedus EJ1, et al

Hawkins Kennedy test @88% accuracy in ruling impingement out 60% accuracy in ruling impingement in J. Fam Pract 2002

3 of the best exercises you can do for impingement are listed below.

  • Middle trapezius, Lower trapezius, Serratus Anterior Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2011 Mar; 6(1): 51–58. Phil Page, PhD, PT These exercises are effective to reduce shoulder pain and impingement. 
  • These exercises help restore what is called the scapular humeral rhythm. The interaction between the arm bone and the shoulder blade. See exercises below.

  1. Middle trapezius exercise. This exercise is an incredible exercise and is 5/5 stars.  .

Pull shoulder blades back with theraband 3 sets of 10 , 2 x a day, 5 x a week 8 weeks, perform slowly, no pain. This exercise is a 5 out of 5 star rating for effectiveness. 


2. Lower trapezius exercises lie on stomach or table or exercise ball- this is a difficult exercise to do correctly and it often causes pain if not done under the supervision of a Physical therapist or Occupational therapist.

lift arms up about 60 degrees to 90 degrees, thumbs up 2 lbs, no pain 3 sets of 5 slowly, 5 x a week, 6 weeks



3. This exercise is called a push up with a plus. Your hands and knees are on the ground. 

Serratus anterior- Push up body like the picture /extend shoulder blades up towards the ceiling. This is called a push up with a plus-this is a difficult exercise to do correctly and it often is not done correctly unless performed under the supervision of an Occupational therapist or Physical therapist.

Perform 3 sets of 10, 5 x a week, 6 weeks, no pain should be felt


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