Supraspinatus tendinopathy or supraspinatus "tendinitis" is a common source of reported shoulder pain in patients that perform repetitive overhead activities, overloading the tendon. Examples of this include painting, hairdressing or sports requiring overhead actions such as tennis and volleyball. This is commonly clinically diagnosed by experienced physiotherapists and formally confirmed on shoulder ultrasound scans. The supraspinatus tendon is part of the rotator cuff muscle group in the shoulder, involved in stabilising, "externally rotating" and "abducting" the shoulder (side raise). The tendon often experiences impingement as it passes in between the humeral head ("ball and socket" joint) and acromion (the bony process on the shoulder blade). Friction between the tendon and acromion is reduced by the subacromial bursa which can also get inflamed causing "subacromial bursitis".
Supraspinatus tendinopathy can cause significant reduced shoulder function, pain, strength and range of motion, particularly with overhead activites. Physiotherapy treatment is often the first line of treatment before a cortisone injection is considered. Manual therapy, extracorporeal shockwave therapy, dry needling and a rotator cuff strengthening and shoulder stabilisation exercise program often can help resolve the problem quickly.