Shoulder Bursitis

Shoulder bursitis occurs when excess fluid accumulates in the bursa, which acts as a cushion between the bones and tissue in the shoulder. Shoulder bursitis is painful and can be chronic or come on suddenly, often the result of an injury.


Shoulder bursitis is usually caused by repeated motion or stress against the bursa. Activities that require a lot of overhead movements, such as athletics or carpentry, increase the likelihood of shoulder bursitis. Other risk factors include arthritis, diabetes, and kidney disease.


The most common symptoms of shoulder bursitis are pain and tenderness. Pain may be sudden or gradual. Stiffness and limited range of motion are also possible, and symptoms are usually worse with activity or at night.


A thorough assessment of symptoms and health history will help physicians to diagnose shoulder bursitis. A physical exam will demonstrate limited range of motion and shoulder pain. Imaging tests such as x-rays may also be used to identify arthritis and other problems, including bone spurs.


Shoulder bursitis may be treated with rest, ice, anti-inflammatory medications, corticosteroid injections, and physical therapy. If symptoms do not improve, surgery could be necessary to remove damaged tissue that is pressing on the bursa.

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