skip to Main Content

Shoulder Tendonitis: Symptoms and Treatment Options

Dealing with shoulder pain? It might be shoulder tendonitis, a common condition affecting the tendons in your shoulder. This issue can make everyday activities challenging and painful. At Performance Sports Medicine Institute, we aim to not only treat but also educate you on the symptoms and treatment options for shoulder tendonitis, helping you return to your normal routine without discomfort.


What is Shoulder Tendonitis?

Shoulder tendonitis involves the inflammation of the tendons in the shoulder area, typically made worse by repetitive movement or overuse. Common in both athletes and those in physically demanding jobs, this condition often results from the continuous strain on the shoulder joints during activities such as swimming, tennis, or even painting and cleaning.

Symptoms of Shoulder Tendonitis

Recognizing early symptoms of shoulder tendonitis can lead to more effective management:

Pain and Tenderness

The most noticeable symptom is a dull ache in the shoulder, which can worsen when you move your arm, especially overhead.


The shoulder may swell due to inflammation, making the joint appear larger or slightly misshapen.

Reduced Mobility

You may notice a decrease in your range of motion, finding it difficult to lift your arm above your head or reach behind your back.

Treatment Options for Shoulder Tendonitis

Dealing with shoulder tendonitis involves a combination of medical intervention and self-care strategies:

Rest and Ice

The first line of defense against shoulder tendonitis involves resting the affected shoulder to prevent further aggravation of the condition. During this rest period, applying ice packs can be extremely beneficial. 

Ice helps reduce swelling and numbs the area, providing relief from pain. Ice therapy should be applied for about 20 minutes every hour initially, then less frequently as symptoms improve. It’s important to wrap the ice pack in a cloth to prevent frostbite on the skin.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is crucial for recovery from shoulder tendonitis. A physical therapist can design a personalized exercise program that focuses on strengthening the shoulder muscles, improving flexibility, and restoring range of motion.

Exercises might include stretching routines and strengthening movements that target both the specific muscles of the shoulder and the general upper body. These exercises help reduce the burden on the inflamed tendons and facilitate a smoother recovery.


For managing pain and inflammation, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or naproxen, may be recommended. These medications can provide temporary relief, allowing patients to participate more effectively in physical therapy. In cases where inflammation is severe, corticosteroid injections may be administered by a healthcare professional to provide rapid and potent relief. 

However, it’s important to understand that these treatments address symptoms and not the underlying cause, so if pain persists, further consultation with a physician may be necessary.

Surgical Options

For persistent shoulder tendonitis that doesn’t improve with non-surgical treatments, surgery may be an option. The most common surgical procedure is arthroscopic surgery, where small incisions are made, and a camera is used to guide miniature surgical instruments. This technique allows for detailed repairs with minimal invasion, such as removing inflamed tissue or repairing small tendon tears. 

Recovery generally involves less downtime compared to traditional open surgery, which may be required for more extensive repairs. Post-surgical recovery includes physical therapy to regain strength and mobility, ensuring an effective return to daily activities.

Moving Forward with Healthy Shoulders

At Performance Sports Medicine Institute, we believe that understanding your condition is the first step toward recovery. Our team is committed to providing you with the tools and treatments needed to manage shoulder tendonitis effectively.

Ready to Address Your Shoulder Pain?

Don’t let shoulder tendonitis hold you back from enjoying life or performing your best at work and sports. Contact us at Performance Sports Medicine Institute today and start your journey toward pain-free living.

Back To Top