Shoulder Tendonitis

Pain or discomfort in your shoulder

What is shoulder tendonitis?

Our shoulder comprises numerous bones, ligaments, tendons, and muscles, all working together to allow the shoulder its usual range of motion and strength.

The two main tendons that make up the shoulder are the biceps tendon and the rotator cuff tendons. Shoulder tendonitis occurs when there is an inflammation of either one of these tendons. 

shoulder tendonitis
Shoulder tendonitis occurs due to inflammation of the biceps tendon or the rotator cuff tendon.

There are two main types of shoulder tendonitis, these are:

  • Rotator cuff tendonitis: inflammation of the rotator cuff tendon
  • Biceps tendonitis: inflammation of the upper biceps tendon.

Both occur as a result of being pinched or squeezed by nearby structures such as bones.

What causes shoulder tendonitis?

Shoulder tendonitis can be caused by:

  • Injury: sports injuries are the most common cause of shoulder tendonitis but can also be caused by falling directly on the tendons. 
  • Repetitive use or overuse: occurs due to sports, hobbies, or occupations that require repetitive movements or heavy lifting, thus putting excessive weight and strain on the tendons.

What are the symptoms of shoulder tendonitis?

Symptoms of shoulder tendonitis vary among individuals but usually occur where the tendons connect to the bone.

General symptoms of shoulder tendonitis include:

  • Pain or discomfort in your shoulder which is more pronounced during movement
  • Limited range of motion
  • Swelling 
  • Snapping sound or feeling in shoulder
shoulder pain
Shoulder tendonitis causes pain or discomfort in the affected shoulder.
If you notice any of the symptoms, make an appointment with an orthopaedic specialist to get an accurate diagnosis and treatment.

Dr Puah KL is our Senior Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at Artisan Sports & Orthopaedic Surgery. He used to serve the sports service of Singapore General Hospital - the highest volume trauma centre for orthopaedics in Singapore.

Is shoulder tendonitis painful?

Yes, shoulder tendonitis is characterised by pain in the affected shoulder and can cause limited range of motion. It may also cause swelling in some individuals.

Who is at risk of shoulder tendonitis in Singapore?

  • Occupation: certain occupations such as those that involve heavy lifting or repeated/awkward movements can cause your rotator cuff tendon or biceps tendon to become snagged or pinched by nearby structures. 
  • Hobbies/sports: certain activities such as heavy lifting at the gym can cause irritation or inflammation of your shoulder tendons.
  • Age: as we get older, our tendons start to lose their flexibility, making them more prone to injury.
  • Medical conditions: diabetes can increase your risk of shoulder tendonitis.
  • Medications: certain medications such as some antibiotics and corticosteroids can increase your risk of shoulder tendonitis.

How is shoulder tendonitis diagnosed?

Shoulder tendonitis is characterised by shoulder pain which can point to a number of different ailments. 

For proper diagnosis, you may be required to undergo the following: 

  • Physical examination: the first step of diagnosis will be a physical examination and a discussion on your medical history. This helps to identify the area of pain, range of motion, and possible cause of your shoulder tendonitis. 
  • X-ray: an x-ray will identify the areas of irritation and inflammation.
  • Ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): ultrasounds and MRIs will check for the presence of inflammation of the tendons and identify which tendons are inflamed. 
shoulder x-ray
An X-ray can be used to identify areas of inflammation around the shoulder joint.

What are the treatment options for shoulder tendonitis in Singapore?

Depending on the severity of your shoulder tendonitis, treatment options include:

  • Medication: pain relievers and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) will be prescribed to alleviate your pain and reduce inflammation in your shoulder.
  • Corticosteroid injections: these injections help to reduce inflammation and relieve pain but it cannot be used as a long-term solution– long term use of steroids can weaken tendons.
  • Platelet rich plasma (PRP): PRP involves the use of platelets from your own blood to help in the healing process. 
  • Physiotherapy: physiotherapy involves the use of therapeutic and gentle exercises to help strengthen your muscles and tendons.
  • Surgery: minimally invasive Arthroscopy is usually used to treat shoulder tendonitis when other non-invasive treatment options have failed.
Frequently asked questions
our process

Feeling aches and pains?

Book a consultation with us for a more comprehensive diagnosis and a personalised treatment plan best suited to your needs.

Feeling aches and pains?

Book a consultation with us for a more comprehensive diagnosis and a personalised treatment plan best suited to your needs. What are you experiencing now?

For emergency appointment, please call or Whatsapp us at (65) 8909 8877. We will arrange for a limousine to send you to our clinic.
Please indicate your current problem or share any other remarks for us to note before your appointment.

Let's start your journey of healing.

For emergency appointment, please call or Whatsapp us at (65) 8909 8877. We will arrange for a limousine to send you to our clinic.
Your submission has been received.
Your submission has been received. Our customer representative will contact you soon! For quicker response, please call us at +65 8909 8877
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.