Shoulder posterior internal impingement in the overhead athlete

Authors:  Manske RC, Grant-Nierman M, Lucas B

Posterior internal impingement (PII) of the glenohumeral joint is a common cause of shoulder complex pain in the overhead athlete. This impingement is very different from standard outlet impingement seen in shoulder patients. Internal impingement is characterized by posterior shoulder pain when the athlete places the humerus in extreme external rotation and abduction as in the cocking phase of pitching or throwing. Impingement in this position occurs between the supraspinatus and or infraspinatus and the glenoid rim. Understanding regarding this pathology continues to evolve. Definitive understanding of precipitating factors, causes, presentation, and methods of treatment have remains elusive. A high index of suspicion should be used when attempting to make this diagnosis. This current concepts review presents the current thinking regarding pathophysiology, evaluation, and treatment of this condition.

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