Most patients 35 or over normally develop some wear and tear changes in the tendons of the rotator cuff and are more susceptible to rotator cuff tendonitis with overuse. The presence of spurs on the undersurface of the acromion and the AC joint is more prevalent in even older age groups.
One of the diagnoses that we use to describe the group of patients who have rotator cuff tendonitis secondary to spurs under the acromion or AC joint is “Impingement Syndrome.” These patients have symptoms the same as or similar to those described above, but the most prominent complaint is pain with overhead use and athletic activities.
The initial treatment as outlined above is appropriate for patients in this category also. Some patients in this group will also have calcium deposits in the rotator cuff secondary to more chronic degeneration and overuse. An occasional young patient will have an abnormally formed acromion or spur which leads to rotator cuff tendonitis with overuse. If this is the case, and it fails to respond to treatment as outlined, arthroscopic surgery may be indicated to remove the spur.