What is Subacromial Bursitis?
Subacromial bursitis is a condition characterized by inflammation and irritation of the subacromial bursa, a fluid-filled sac located between the top of the humerus (upper arm bone) and the acromion, which is a bony projection of the shoulder blade. The subacromial bursa acts as a cushion and reduces friction between the tendons of the rotator cuff and the acromion during shoulder movement.
- Overuse or repetitive shoulder movements can lead to irritation and inflammation of the subacromial bursa.
- Trauma, injury, or excessive strain on the shoulder joint can also trigger bursitis.
- Pain and tenderness around the shoulder, particularly at the top and front of the shoulder.
- Pain that may worsen with arm movements, especially overhead activities.
- Limited range of motion in the shoulder due to pain.
- Swelling and redness in the affected area.
- Diagnosis is typically made through a combination of medical history, physical examination, and sometimes imaging tests like X-rays or MRI to rule out other potential causes of shoulder pain.
- Treatment aims to reduce inflammation, alleviate pain, and improve shoulder function. Options include:
- Rest and Activity Modification: Avoiding activities that worsen symptoms.
- Pain Relief: Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help reduce pain and inflammation.
- Ice: Applying ice to the affected area can help ease pain and reduce swelling.
- Physical Therapy: Exercises to improve shoulder range of motion, strength, and posture.
- Corticosteroid Injections: In some cases, a healthcare provider may administer a corticosteroid injection into the subacromial space to reduce inflammation.
- Supportive Measures: Using supportive devices like slings can help rest the shoulder and reduce strain.
- Surgery: In rare cases, surgery may be considered if conservative treatments are ineffective and the bursitis is chronic.
- Maintaining proper shoulder mechanics and posture during activities.
- Avoiding overuse and giving the shoulder adequate rest between activities.
- Engaging in regular shoulder-strengthening exercises.
It’s important to seek medical attention if you experience persistent shoulder pain, especially if it’s affecting your daily activities. A healthcare provider, such as an orthopedic specialist, can accurately diagnose subacromial bursitis and recommend appropriate treatment to relieve pain and restore shoulder function.
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