Subacromial Bursitis

Subacromial Bursitis


The bursa is the sack of fluid located between the bones, muscle, skin and tendon of the shoulder. The bursa is responsible for the painless gliding of these structures over each other. The subacromial bursa aids the rotator cuff in overhead mobility. Subacromial bursitis develops when the bursa becomes inflamed as a result of injury, impingement, damage to the rotator cuff, tendon degeneration, glenohumeral instability, calcium deposits and/or overuse. Subacromial bursitis is common in athletes that constantly use the overhead motion, such as swimmers. Sufferers of subacromial bursitis typically report pain and weakness in the arm when it is lifted sideways, pain on the inside front of the upper arm, occasional loss of movement, and passive burning sensations in the shoulder. Your doctor at Genesis Orthopedics & Sports Medicine will perform a thorough physical examination before recommending a proper treatment approach.

Treatment Options:


Genesis Orthopedics & Sports Medicine uses cortisone injections for reducing pain and inflammation for an array of joint injuries. In certain injuries that are solely inflammation based, such as tendonitis, cortisone injections can act as a cure for the inflammation but not with injuries that involve tearing of ligaments. For subacromial bursitis cortisone is injected into the bursa to decrease swelling and reduce pain. Cortisone injections are commonly used in conjunction with physical therapy to resolve subacromial bursitis.

Physical Therapy

Consult your physician at Genesis Orthopedics & Sports Medicine for a recommended physical therapy plan. Therapy is conducted with the goal of decreasing the pain associated with subacromial bursitis, restore the shoulder’s range of motion, and help it gradually regain strength.


Subacromial decompression surgery is typically used for impingement syndrome in conjunction with a rotator cuff injury. Subacromial decompression surgery is used if physical therapy and all other non-surgical treatment options have not worked. Subacromial decompression is an arthroscopic procedure used to alleviate subacromial bursitis, in which the inflamed bursa and bone spurs are removed to create more room for the rotator cuff.

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