Shoulder Bursitis

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Overview

If you believe that you have shoulder bursitis, you likely experience pain, redness, and swelling in your shoulder.

Shoulder Anatomy

Your shoulder is a very complex joint with many tendons and muscles. The complexity of the shoulder also makes it vulnerable to many problems. Your shoulder comprised of three large bones: your upper arm bone (humerus) which meets your shoulder blade (scapula) and your collarbone (clavicle). The head of your arm bone lives in your shoulder socket. Muscles and tendons cover this location to protect the joint and connect it to your shoulder blade. Between the rotator cuff and the bone on top of your shoulder, there is a sac called a bursa which lubricates the joint. This lubrication allows the rotator cuff tendons to move pain-free when you move your arm. There are more than 150 bursae in the body; six of which are located in the shoulder region.

Shoulder Bursitis Overview

Shoulder bursitis is when the bursa is inflamed. Your bursa will swell with more fluid causing pain when you use your arm.

There are three types of shoulder bursitis:

  1. Chronic Bursitis. You may experience frequent bouts of pain and swelling. Deterioration of muscles can occur which also limits your range of motion
  2. Infected Bursitis. If your bursa is infected it’s called septic bursitis. Infection to your bursa occurs as bad bacteria enter your body through a cut or puncture wound.
  3. Traumatic Bursitis. This type of bursitis occurs if you experienced a traumatic injury.

Nonsurgical Treatment Options for Shoulder Bursitis

Some initial nonsurgical treatments are:

  • Rest.​ Rest your arm for several weeks which means stopping or decrease heavy participation in sports or activities that cause your painful symptoms.
  • Anti-inflammatory Medication.​ Start taking an anti-inflammatory like aspirin or ibuprofen in order to reduce the pain and inflammation.
  • Physical Therapy.​ Your physical therapist may suggest several exercises designed with restoring normal motion for your shoulder.
  • Steroid Injection.​ A powerful anti-inflammatory injection in the painful area can relieve your symptoms.