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Subacromial Decompression

Shoulder impingement syndrome

Shoulder impingement is caused by the tendons of the Rotator Cuff becoming compressed between the joint and the shoulder blade. This is usually due to a narrowing of the space in which they sit, due to the formation of bony deposits or spurs. The Subacromial space is formed by the part of the shoulder blade called the Acromion, and the head of the Humerus. Shoulder impingement can become a very painful and inflammatory condition, which can in turn lead to a weakening of the Rotator cuff tendons.
Arthroscopic decompression

This procedure is a minimally invasive technique, which employs ‘key hole’ surgery, thus enabling a faster recovery. It will usually take 3 months following the surgery, to experience pain relief, and 6-9 months for the end point.

The aim of the procedure is to create more space for the tendons of the Rotator Cuff to pass through. By removing part of the Acromial bone and associated bony spurs, more space is created enabling the tendons to glide freely.


1-2 Weeks Post op return to driving as able
6 Weeks Full range of movement 
  Lifting as able
Return to sports Swimming - up to 2 months
  Golf - 3 > months
  Racquet sports > 3 months

Early Phase ASD Shoulder Exercises (Weeks 1-2)

These exercises are designed to complement your Arthroscopic Subacromial Decompression Information Sheet.

Shoulder pendular exercises
Position: Step standing. Lean your body forward. Support your body weight resting the un-operated arm on a table.
Action: Gently rock your weight from your front foot to your back foot, enabling the arm to move back and forth in a pendular motion.
Reps:  Repeat x6-10 x 3 per day.

Assisted Flexion
Position: Lying on your back, hands held together, fists up to ceiling.
Action: Use your un-operated arm to help lift the other arm up towards your ears. Try to keep the arm straight. Raise as far as comfortable. Lower and repeat.
Reps:  Repeat x 6-10 times x3 per day.

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Assisted External rotation
Position: Lying on your back, hold a stick or similar e.g. Golf club/Umbrella.
Action: Start with your elbows tucked in at sides of body. Use un-operated arm to help move the operated arm by pushing the stick rotating the arm away from body. Keep elbows tucked in. Move as far as comfortable.
Reps:  Repeat x 6-10 times x 3 per day.

Pulley Exercises (week 2 onwards)
Position: Place a long piece of rope, washing line, or dressing gown cord over a door.
Action: Hold the ends of the rope; use your unoperated arm to pull on the rope enabling the other arm to raise.

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For further information and advice:

Alternatively, please call Michele Murphy:
T: 02392 352 206

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