Conditions and diseases
Impingement/AC joint arthrosis
Symptoms and causesSymptoms and causes
Squeezing (‘impingement’) of the rotator cuff against the bone above it causes the bursa and tendon blade to inflame, thicken and, at an advanced stage, the tendon may even rupture. Impingement can also result from wear and tear (osteoarthritis) at the AC joint.
Typical complaints include the following:
- Pain in the upper arm (front - side)
- Symptoms start after an overload (during painting, wallpapering, hedge clipping...).
- Upper arm activities or sports increase the pain
- Pain at night when lying on the shoulder
Diagnosis and treatmentDiagnosis and treatment
The diagnosis is made on the basis of:
- a list of symptoms, including pain on top of shoulder, during certain movements or actions such as driving with hands on top of the steering wheel and ironing
- an examination, which entails pressure pain on the joint, the stress test or cross-arm test, to see whether pushing the arm toward the other shoulder causes pain, the hyperelevation-adduction test and the hand back test.
- a simple X-ray of the AC joint, which shows peripheral growths and a narrowed, deformed joint or bone deterioration (osteolysis)
- more sophisticated diagnostic tests include the MRI and the bone scan
Treatment can be surgical or non-surgical. This depends on the cause and severity of the symptoms, and it will be discussed with the treating doctor.
Treatment centres and specialisationsTreatment centres and specialisations
Latest publication date: 10/10/2023
Supervising author: Dr. Desmyter Stefan