Sub acromial Bursitis

Bursitis is a condition where the bursa becomes inflamed or irritated and causes pain. The bursa is a tiny sac filled with lubricating fluid, located between tissues such as bone, tendons, muscles and skin and help in reducing rubbing and friction. Bursitis commonly occurs near joints that perform repetitive motions like shoulder, elbow, hip and knee.

It is estimated that there are over 150 bursae in our body.

Sub acromial Bursitis is an injury or inflammation of the shoulder bursa. Shoulder has many bursae but the most commonly inflamed one is sub acromial bursa and hence shoulder bursitis is often called as sub-acromial bursitis. Sub-acromial bursa lies between the humerus and the acromion. Normally, the tendons and bursa slide easily between these two bones. But because of arthritis, trauma etc the space between these bones become narrow causing irritation in the bursa leading to inflammation pain, thus bursitis.

What are the symptoms of Sub acromial bursitis?

Symptoms of bursitis vary depending on how they are caused. Common symptoms include pain in the shoulder, inflammation, feeling of warmth in the area and limited range of motion. Pain with specific movements like taking the arm away from the body and activities reaching overhead. In certain cases, the pain refers down the arm to the elbows and wrists. In case of infected bursitis, occasionally there will be fever.


What causes sub acromial bursitis?

A bursa can become inflamed due to an injury, infection or an underlying rheumatic condition. It normally occurs in people involved in doing repetitive overhead activities like painting. If bursitis is caused due to an infection, it is called septic bursitis.

Certain risk factors have been reported for getting Shoulder Bursitis:

Rheumatoid Arthritis
Bad posture
Not properly recovering from a previous shoulder injury
Traumatic bursitis are commonly seen in athletes playing sports like football, basketball, swimming etc


How is sub acromial bursitis treated?

It is treated with conservative non-surgical methods like

Non-Steroidal Inflammatory Drugs
Antibiotics in case of septic bursitis
Cortisone Injections (in case of severe cases)
Aspiration of the bursa

Surgery is rarely opted for treating Shoulder Bursitis, but occasionally it is required for chronic cases where the pain does not subside using conservative non-surgical methods of treatment.

The most common surgical treatment is an incision and drainage wherein the fluid present in the inflamed bursa is drained out. Sometimes, it is required to excise the entire bursa surgically (Bursectomy).


Can sub acromial bursitis be prevented?

There are certain precautions that can be taken, which may help avoiding getting any shoulder problem.

  • Taking frequent breaks while playing any sports that require overhead movements
  • Practice stretching exercises
  • Take care of your posture always
  • Avoid making body exposed to extreme cold weather

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