Shoulder Bursitis

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What is shoulder bursitis?

Shoulder bursitis is an irritation or inflammation of the bursa in your shoulder. A bursa is a fluidfilled sac that acts as a cushion between tendons, bones, and skin to reduce friction.

How does shoulder bursitis occur?

The shoulder bursa can become inflamed from repetitive motion of the shoulder. It frequently occurs in sports with overhead activities such as swimming, tennis, or throwing. It may also occur in occupational activities like painting or carpentry.

What are the symptoms of shoulder bursitis?

You may have pain on the outer, front side of your shoulder. Your shoulder may hurt when you lift your arm above your head. The outer side of your shoulder may become swollen and may at times be warm.

How is shoulder bursitis diagnosed?

Your doctor will review your symptoms and perform a physical examination on your shoulder. An x-ray will also be done to rule out any issues with the bones of your shoulder.

How is shoulder bursitis treated?

Treatment of shoulder bursitis may include the following treatments:

  • Using ice on the shoulder 20-30 minutes at a time, 4-5 times per day
  • Taking anti-inflammatory medication or other pain medications
  • Receiving a cortisone injection into the bursa to reduce inflammation and pain
  • Home exercises or physical therapy to help in your recovery

Information obtained from The Sports Medicine Patient Advisor by Pierre Rouzier, MD