Shoulder impingement after a car accident is one of the most frequent shoulder injuries. Shoulder impingement can restrict your ability to move your shoulder and can cause weakness and pain when you reach for and lift things.

While other body joints have bones that are surrounded by muscles and tendons, the shoulder is unique. It has muscles and tendons that are also surrounded by bones. The muscles of your rotator cuff are between the head of your upper arm bone or humorous and the bony projection on your shoulder blade called the acromion.

Impingement can happen when the tendons of your rotator cuff rub against these bones. This can be caused by repetitive motions, but also can be caused by the violent forces of a car accident. A common car accident scenario is if you see in your rear view mirror that you are about to be hit from behind. It is natural to grip the steering wheel and tense up. When the collision occurs, some of that impact can be transferred into the delicate shoulder joint, causing rotator cuff damage and/or joint impingement.

Some of the common symptoms of impingement after a car accident include:

  • Pain when you reach over your head
  • Pain when you try to reach behind you
  • Muscle weakness in the shoulder when trying to lift something
  • Shoulder pain that radiates from the front of the shoulder to the side of the arm
  • Swelling or tenderness in the front part of the shoulder

It is important to know that shoulder impingement is common after car accidents and it will get progressively worse without treatment. Your range of motion may decline as time goes by. That is why it is so important to have a doctor look you over as soon as possible after the accident.

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