The usefulness of ultrasound measurements in the diagnosis of the subacromial impingement syndrome of the shoulder was evaluated. Fifty-seven patients with unilateral symptoms of the impingement syndrome underwent ultrasound examination of both shoulder joints, which included assessment of rotator cuff integrity, measurement of rotator cuff thickness and the distance between the infero-lateral edge of acromion and the apex of the greater tuberosity of humerus (AGT distance) in the standard ultrasonographic positions. As a control group, 36 volunteers (72 shoulders) with no history of shoulder pain were examined sonographically. Ultrasonographic assessment of humeral head elevation, measured as the AGT distance, proved to be useful in establishing the diagnosis of the subacromial impingement syndrome of the shoulder. A difference in rotator cuff thickness of more than 1.1 mm and a difference in the AGT distance of more than 2.1 mm between both shoulder joints may reflect dysfunction of rotator cuff muscles.