Treatment for Painful Shoulder Bursitis Is Available in Lafayette, LA
The most common cause of shoulder pain, shoulder bursitis affects the bursae. These small, fluid-filled sacs are found in areas where muscles and tendons move over bony joints. The bursae serve as protective cushions and gliding surfaces, reducing friction between hard and soft tissues and facilitating smooth movement. Also known as impingement syndrome, shoulder bursitis occurs when a bursa between the top of the upper arm bone and the tip of the shoulder becomes irritated and inflamed.
How Does Bursitis Develop?
The excessive friction from repetitive movements can easily irritate a bursa, which is normally paper-thin. In response, the bursa may produce more fluid to create a protective buffer. An inflamed bursa can grow thick, lumpy, and enlarged, taking up extra space that inhibits the movement of the rotator cuff tendons, which can then become pinched (impinged) between the shoulder bones. In addition to shoulder pain, shoulder bursitis can cause swelling, localized warmth, and fever.
How Is Bursitis Treated?
The goal of treatment for shoulder bursitis is to reduce inflammation, which in turn can relieve pain. This can usually be accomplished conservatively. Some options include:
- Avoidance of activities and movements that worsen the symptoms, such as reaching overhead
- Ice applications two to three times daily for 20-30 minutes at a time
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) taken as needed
In many cases, a few weeks of nonsurgical treatment is sufficient for relieving the inflammation and pain of shoulder bursitis, after which a physical therapy program can be started to facilitate a pain-free return to daily activities. To address persistent symptoms, a cortisone injection may be considered. Cortisone is a powerful anti-inflammatory medication that can be injected directly into a painful area of a joint. While surgery is usually unnecessary for treating shoulder bursitis, a surgeon can sometimes arthroscopically remove an inflamed bursa and some surrounding bony tissue to create more space for the rotator cuff tendons, if appropriate.
Consult With a Shoulder Specialist
If you’re experiencing shoulder bursitis symptoms, you are welcome to consult with Peter D. Vizzi, MD, a board-certified orthopedic surgeon who practices in Lafayette, Louisiana. Dr. Vizzi can provide a prompt diagnosis and appropriate treatment for your shoulder condition. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.