Shoulder impingement syndrome & acromioclavicular joint arthritis

Shoulder impingement syndrome & acromioclavicular joint arthritis

Shoulder impingement is a common cause of pain in the shoulder, making some of the most simple tasks a painful burden. From footballers and rugby players to the average person, shoulder impingement can affect anyone, though the causes can vary.

Our shoulder surgeons at Schoen Clinic London have many years of experience in treating all aspects of shoulder impingement, from rotator cuff tendonitis to acromioclavicular joint arthritis. Whatever is causing your shoulder condition, you are in the best hands with us.


You will usually be in hospital either for a day or overnight. A supplementary local anaesthetic or nerve block is used during the operation which means that immediately after the operation the shoulder and arm may feel numb. This may last a few hours. After this the shoulder may well be sore and you will be given painkillers to help with this whilst in hospital. These can be continued after you are discharged home. Ice packs may also help reduce pain. Wrap crushed ice in a damp, cold cloth and place on the shoulder for up to 15 minutes.

Your consultant or physiotherapist will see you prior to discharge and you will be taught exercises to do and given further advice to guide you through your recovery. You will be given a sling.

This is for comfort only and should be discarded as soon as possible (usually within the first one to two days). After leaving hospital you should exercise the arm frequently throughout the day. The arm may feel sore whilst you are doing the exercises but there should be no intense or lasting pain. Aim for 2-3 exercise sessions per day.

This is a keyhole operation usually done through two or three 4mm puncture wounds. Often there will be no stitches, only small sticking plaster strips over the wounds. These should be kept dry until healed. This usually takes 5-7 days.

You may begin driving one week after your operation or when you feel comfortable. You should be back at work between one and four weeks depending on your job. If you are in a sedentary job you may return as soon as you feel able usually after one week. If your job involves heavy lifting or using your arm above shoulder height you may require a longer period of absence.

You should avoid sustained, repetitive overhead activities for three months. With regards to swimming you may begin breaststroke as soon as you are comfortable but you should wait three months before resuming front crawl. Golf can begin at six weeks. For guidance on DIY and racquet sports you should speak with your consultant or physiotherapist.

A follow-up appointment will be made at the hospital around three weeks after your surgery. At this stage you will be reviewed by your consultant who will check your progress, make sure you are moving your arm properly and give you further exercises as appropriate.

Your symptoms should be approximately 80% better after three months but may take a year to totally settle.