Facts About Shoulder Tendinitis

Shoulder tendinitis, also called shoulder tendonitis, occurs when the tendons in the rotator cuff of the shoulder become inflamed. Many different structures come together at the shoulder joint, including the humerus (upper arm bone), scapula (shoulder blade), and clavicle (collarbone). The group of muscles and tendons that make up the rotator cuff attach the humerus to the scapula. The irritation and inflammation of these tendons can cause shoulder pain that disrupts your daily activities, but an orthopaedic doctor can help.


The symptoms of shoulder tendinitis tend to occur gradually over time, and become progressively worse. You might notice any of the following symptoms:

  • Shoulder pain when elevating the arm up
  • Clicking in the shoulder joint with movement
  • Upper arm pain that may extend to the elbow
  • Pain while lying on the affected shoulder

Eventually, you may start to experience shoulder pain while at rest. The shoulder can also develop the loss of strength and range of motion.


Unlike a rotator cuff tear, shoulder tendinitis usually has a gradual progression. It’s typically an overuse injury that occurs after a prolonged period of micro-trauma being inflicted on the tendons. Shoulder tendinitis might also occur in people who already had shoulder impingement, and in people who fall onto an outstretched arm or who suffer sudden trauma to the shoulder. People who do repetitive movements are at a higher risk of shoulder tendinitis, including:

  • Golfers
  • Tennis players
  • Baseball players
  • Assembly line workers
  • Construction workers


Without proper treatment, shoulder tendinitis can become worse. Complications may occur, such as calcific tendinitis. Calcific tendinitis is characterized by the formation of small calcium deposits in the area. To prevent these complications and heal your inflamed tendons, your orthopaedic doctor may recommend:

  • Rest
  • Cold therapy
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Physical therapy

If the symptoms persist, and interfere with the activities of daily living, then surgery may be recommended.

Shoulder tendinitis is one of the many medical problems we treat here at MK Orthopaedics. Our orthopaedic doctors and surgeons serving Joliet will develop a personalized treatment plan that paves the way for your recovery from your shoulder injury. Give us a call at (815) 741-6900.

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