Subacromial Bursitis: Diagnosis and Treatment

Subacromial bursitis is inflammation of the subacromial bursa. It frequently is see in middle aged active people. It is the most common type of bursitis.

Because the subacromial bursa is located between two bony structures (the acromian process and the humeral head), therefore any condition that causes even mild inflammation, produces pressure over the bursa.

This bursitis is usually associated with other inflammatory conditions of the shoulder such as rotator cuff tendinitis, trauma, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis.

Diagnosis is by clinical examination. On examination pain is felt when the arm is moved overhead. The initial 1/3rd and the last 1/3rd of movement is painless, only the movement in the middle 1/3rd is painful. Tenderness may be present at the tip of the shoulder.

X rays of the shoulder are usually normal. MRI can show the status of the bursa, rotator cuff and the adjoining structures.

Treatment is by

  • pain killer and anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Heat applied to the shoulder
  • Physiotherapy
  • Steroid injections into the bursa

Rarely surgical excision of the bursa is done.

I hope the information provided was helpful. If you have any query you can ask me at the contact me page.

This page was last updated on 1st April 2009.

Other causes of shoulder pain...

Adhesive Capsulitis

Bicipital Tendinitis

Rotator Cuff Tendinitis

Shoulder Dislocation

Recurrent Shoulder Dislocation

Shoulder Fracture

Go back to Shoulder Pain from Subacromial bursitis


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