Shoulder Bursitis Warana

December 3, 2011

Bursae are small fluid-filled sacs usually situated between a bone and a tendon. The role of a bursa is to reduce friction associated with movement of tendon over bone.  There are numerous bursae around the hips, knees, shoulders, feet and elbows. The subacromial bursa in the shoulder joint is one of the most commonly affected.

Bursa may become inflamed due to infection, direct impact or overuse. Infection of bursae may follow a laceration which is not properly sterilised. Acute traumatic bursitis can occur following a direct blow to a bursa due to bleeding into the bursa. Overuse bursitis, which is the most common form, results from constant rubbing of a tendon over bone, maximising frictional demand on the bursa. For example, a person who throws a ball too many times with poor biomechanics at one interval may begin to cause this friction process in the shoulder.

Symptoms can vary from an achy pain and stiffness in a joint, to a burning that surrounds the whole joint around the inflamed bursa. The pain is usually worse following activity, and joint area can become stiff the following day.

A period of rest from aggravating activities is normally required. In addition, biomechanical analysis is often used to address any issues that may be causative. Soft tissue therapy to surrounding musculature, electrotherapeutic modalities, manual therapy to joints and exercise are all commonly used. Depending on the severity of the bursitis, recovery times range from 2-8 weeks.