Conditions We Treat - Shoulder

Bicep Tendonitis

What is Bicep Tendonitis?

This condition is present when a tendon in the bicep muscle swells and gets inflamed. It typically happens in conjunction with other shoulder issues, such as impingement, dislocation, or arthritis. 


Causes of bicep tendonitis include:

  • Overuse of a tendon in a repetitive motion
  • Poor posture
  • Lifting something heavy
  • Poor technique while playing sports and during exercise
  • Shoulder impingement
  • Microtears of the muscle and tendon

What does Bicep Tendonitis feel like?

  • Symptoms of bicep tendonitis include:

    • Pain worsening with movement
    • Restricted mobility of the elbow and/or shoulder
    • Muscle weakness
    • Snapping sensation with movement of the shoulder/elbow
    • Swelling at the shoulder and elbow

How can Bicep Tendonitis be treated?

  • Non-surgical treatment options include:

    • Ice packs and heat to facilitate tendon healing
    • Over-the-counter medication; nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen or naproxen
    • Physical therapy 
    • Massage therapy
    • Osteopathy

Rotator Cuff Injury

What is a Rotator Cuff injury?

The rotator cuff refers to four muscles surrounding the shoulder girdle that stabilise the joint and provide a range of fluid movement. When one of these muscles or tendons become injured, range of motion and stability of the shoulder joint is compromised. Injury to this area can occur at any age and is likely due to strain during overhead motion, poor posture, muscle weakness, and heavy lifting. The injury results in inflammation around the rotator cuff, leading to pain and decreased range of motion. 


Some examples of this injury include:

  • Shoulder bursitis
  • Rotator cuff tendon tear 
  • Rotator cuff impingement
  • Rotator cuff strain/sprain

How can Rotator Cuff Injuries be treated?

Treatment for this group of injuries involves physiotherapy and exercise recommendations to decrease pain and increase range of motion in the joint. With manual therapy and regular exercises designed to stabilise the joint, the soft tissue surrounding the joint becomes stronger. Some examples of techniques used at Clinetic include: 


  • Massage therapy
  • Acupuncture
  • Dry needling
  • Active Release Therapy (ART ) & Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilisation (IASTM)
  • Interferential current (IFC) & TENS
  • Ultrasound
  • Manual therapy
  • Rehabilitation exercises
  • Chiropractic

Frozen Shoulder

What is a frozen shoulder?

Also known as adhesive capsulitis, frozen shoulder is characterized by stiffness and pain in the shoulder joints. Signs and symptoms worsen over time and usually resolve within one to three years. 


Causes of a frozen shoulder:

  • Those who have had prolonged reduced mobility of the shoulder from:
    • Rotator cuff injury
    • Broken arm
    • Stroke
    • Recovery from surgery
  • Those who have certain diseases:
    • Diabetes
    • Overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism)
    • Underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism)
    • Cardiovascular disease
    • Tuberculosis
    • Parkinson’s disease

What does Frozen Shoulder feel like?

Symptoms of a frozen shoulder:

  • Freezing stage: Any movement of the shoulder causes pain, and movement starts to become limited.
  • Frozen stage: Pain may begin to diminish, however, the shoulders become stiffer.
  • Thawing stage: Range of motion in the shoulder begins to improve.


How can Frozen Shoulder be managed?

Treatment options include:

  • Acupuncture 
  • Dry needling 
  • ART
  • Electrical Stimulation 
  • Laser therapy for pain
  • Manual therapy 
  • Joint mobilisation
  • Rehabilitation exercises 
  • TENS 


Shoulder Bursitis

What is Shoulder Bursitis?

Shoulder bursitis is inflammation in the bursae, or the fluid filled sacs that protect our joints against friction. Bursae allow the tendons and bones to glide without friction when you move or lift your arms. When the fluid in bursae is compromised due to injuries or overuse, it causes bursitis. 


Causes of shoulder bursitis:

  • Overuse or repetitive movements of the shoulder
  • Overhead activities which increase friction between bones and tissues and can irritate the bursae


Risk factors for shoulder bursitis:

  • Arthritis 
  • Diabetes 
  • Kidney diseases 
  • Thyroid diseases 


What does Shoulder Bursitis feel like?

Symptoms of shoulder bursitis:

  • Sudden or gradual shoulder pain 
  • Shoulder stiffness 
  • Painful range of motion 
  • Sharp or pinching pains with overhead shoulder motions 


How can Shoulder Bursitis be managed?

Treatments for shoulder bursitis:

  • Ice packs to reduce inflammation 
  • Pain relievers and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to ease the pain and swelling 
  • Physical therapy exercises 
  • Antibiotics 


Prevention for shoulder bursitis:

  • Shoulder stretching and strengthening exercises 
  • Warm up the shoulder before any activities 
  • Take breaks during repetitive activities
  • Wear a shoulder brace to ease stress on the shoulder 

Shoulder Impingement/Swimmer’s Shoulder

What is a Swimmer's Shoulder?

Swimmer’s shoulder is sometimes called shoulder impingement, subacromial impingement or painful arc. This painful condition involves tendons which become inflamed and swollen, pressing on nearby structures. Inflammation usually affects the tendons of the rotator cuff, reducing mobility. These tendons can create pressure on the top part of the shoulder blade bone and the acromion, and can lead to the development of bone spurs. 


Causes of swimmer’s shoulder:


  • Repeated strain in the shoulder joint irritates tendon and muscle tissue, developing to tiny tears which lead to inflammation and scar tissue. This damage prevents the joint from moving smoothly. 

What does Swimmer’s Shoulder feel like?

Symptoms of Swimmer’s Shoulder:

  • Muscle weakness or fatigue 
  • Reduced range of motion 
  • Shoulder instability 
  • Shoulder pain

How can Swimmer’s Shoulder be managed?

Treatments for swimmer’s shoulder:

  • Rest 
  • Ice/heat 
  • Ergonomic adjustments 
  • Physical therapy 
  • Massage therapy


Prevention of swimmer’s shoulder:

  • Avoid repeated stress on the shoulder 
  • Practising proper body mechanics 
  • Avoiding overusing the shoulder and resting it 
  • Stretching and warming up before swimming or other sports. 

Labral Tears

What are Labral Tears?

The labrum is the soft cartilage that lines the ball-and-socket joints of the shoulders. A Labral tear occurs when that labrum gets damaged, altering the protective tissues in the joint.  


  • Causes of labral tears:
    • Trauma (fracture or a dislocated shoulder)
    • A hard pull on the arm 
    • Repetitive motion 
    • A direct hit to the shoulder 

What does a Labral Tear feel like?

Symptoms of Labral Tears include:

  • A popping sound when the shoulder is moved 
  • A popping feeling or a grinding sensation when the shoulder is moved 
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Loss of strength in the shoulder 
  • A feeling of instability in the shoulder 


How can a Labral Tear be managed?

Treatments for labral tears:

  • Popping the dislocated shoulder back into place
  • Over the counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatories 
  • Resting the shoulder 
  • Physical therapy 
  • Cortisone injections