Bursitis of the Shoulder Latest Facts: Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Bursitis of the shoulder is a condition that results in the inflammation of one or more bursae in the shoulder. A bursa is a sac-like structure that contains a small amount of fluid, which acts as a cushion between bones and soft tissues. Bursitis of the shoulder can occur due to injury, overuse, or infection. The most common symptoms of bursitis of the shoulder are pain, swelling, and stiffness in the shoulder joint. Treatment for bursitis of the shoulder typically includes rest, ice therapy, and NSAIDs. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the inflamed bursa. Let’s explore this in detail!

Human Shoulder

Human Shoulder

What Is Bursitis?

Bursitis is the inflammation of a bursa. A bursa is a small, fluid-filled sac that acts as a cushion between bones, tendons, and muscles near joints. Bursitis often occurs in the shoulder when the rotator cuff tendons rub against the shoulder blade. This rubbing can irritate the bursa and cause it to become inflamed. There is Subacromial and Rotator Cuff Bursitis. The symptoms of bursitis may include pain, tenderness, stiffness in the affected joint, difficulty moving the joint, swelling in the area, and warmth to the touch. Your doctor will ask about your medical history and symptoms. He or she will also give you a physical exam.

What Causes Bursitis?

Bursitis is often caused by overuse or repetitive motions. This can happen if you participate in a sport that involves throwing, such as baseball, or if you have a job that requires you to operate a drill press, paint a house, or lay carpet. Age-related changes in the tissues around joints can also make you more susceptible to bursitis. The condition is also more common in people with arthritis or diabetes.

Additionally, bursitis can be caused by an injury, such as a fall. Also, an infection can cause bursitis, although this is rare. If you develop bursitis, it’s important to see your doctor right away so he or she can rule out an infection. Infectious causes of bursitis include septic bursitis and infectious myositis. Septic bursitis is an infection of the bursa that can occur when bacteria enter the bursa through a break in the skin. Infectious myositis is an infection of the muscles.

When to See a Doctor

You should see your doctor if you have persistent pain or tenderness around a joint, especially if the pain is accompanied by swelling or redness. Your doctor will ask about your medical history and symptoms. He or she will also give you a physical exam. For example, your doctor may ask you to move your shoulder in various ways to see if this causes pain. The exam will focus on examining the affected area for signs of swelling, redness, and warmth. Your doctor may also order X-rays or other imaging tests to rule out other conditions.

Imaging Tests: Your doctor may order X-rays or other imaging tests to rule out other conditions.

Physical Exam

The exam will focus on examining the affected area for signs of swelling, redness, and warmth. Your doctor may also order X-rays or other imaging tests to rule out other conditions.

Treatment

Treatment for bursitis may include resting the affected joint, applying ice to the area, taking over-the-counter pain relievers, and performing physical therapy exercises. In some cases, your doctor may recommend corticosteroid injections or surgery. You can help prevent bursitis by stretching and strengthening the muscles around the affected joint and avoiding repetitive motions.

  • Injections: Corticosteroid injections are sometimes used to treat bursitis. The corticosteroid is injected into the bursa to reduce inflammation. In some cases, more than one injection may be necessary.
  • Surgery: Surgery is rarely needed to treat bursitis. However, if other treatments have not been successful in relieving your symptoms, your doctor may recommend surgery to remove the bursa.
  • Physical Therapy: Physical therapy exercises may be prescribed to stretch and strengthen the muscles around the affected joint.

Prevention

You can help prevent bursitis by:

  • Stretching and strengthening the muscles around the affected joint: This enables the joint to better handle the stress of repetitive motions.
  • Avoiding repetitive motions: If you must perform a repetitive motion, take frequent breaks to give the joint a chance to rest.
  • Wearing a supportive bursitis shoulder brace: This helps reduce the stress on your joints.
  • Using proper form: When participating in activities that may put stress on your joints, be sure to use proper form.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight: This helps reduce the strain on your joints.
  • Resting when you feel pain or fatigue: This allows your joints to recover from the stress of activity.
  • Applying ice: This can help reduce pain and swelling.
  • Taking over-the-counter pain relievers: These can help reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Performing physical therapy exercises: These can help stretch and strengthen the muscles around the affected joint.

Similar Conditions

Bursitis may be confused with other conditions, such as tendinitis, arthritis, or gout. Bursitis is inflammation of the bursa, which is a small sac of fluid that cushions the joint. Tendinitis is inflammation of the tendon, which is the tissue that connects muscle to bone. Arthritis is a condition that causes inflammation of the joints. Gout is a form of arthritis that causes pain, swelling, and stiffness in the joints.

  • Tendinitis: Tendinitis is an inflammation of the tendon, which is the tissue that connects muscle to bone. The condition is often caused by overuse or repetitive motions. Treatment for tendonitis may include rest, ice, and over-the-counter pain relievers. In some cases, physical therapy or corticosteroid injections may be necessary.
  • Arthritis: Arthritis is a condition that causes inflammation of the joints. The two most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is caused by the wear and tear of the cartilage that cushions the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation of the joints. Treatment for arthritis may include pain relievers, physical therapy, and lifestyle changes. In some cases, surgery may be necessary.
  • Gout: It is a form of arthritis that causes pain, swelling, and stiffness in the joints. The condition is caused by the buildup of uric acid in the blood. Treatment for gout may include rest, ice, and over-the-counter pain relievers. In some cases, corticosteroid injections or surgery may be necessary.

Is There A Definitive Solution?

There is no definitive solution for bursitis. Treatment focuses on relieving pain and inflammation and protecting the joints from further damage. In most cases, bursitis can be managed with self-care measures, such as rest, ice, and over-the-counter pain relievers. In some cases, physical therapy or corticosteroid injections may be necessary. Surgery is rarely needed to treat bursitis, however, in severe cases, it might be the best solution.

References

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/10918-bursitis

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK525763/

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