top of page

Shoulder Bursitis Explained : Causes, Symptoms, Physio Intervention and Rehab.

Updated: Feb 6

Also known as Subacromial or Subdeltoid Bursitis, shoulder bursitis is the inflammation of the subacromial bursa, a small fluid-filled sac in the shoulder. This article delves into the causes, symptoms, physiotherapy interventions, and common questions associated with shoulder bursitis.

What is Shoulder Bursitis

Shoulder bursitis, interchangeable with subacromial or subdeltoid bursitis, entails inflammation of the subacromial bursa—a crucial sac that reduces friction between various shoulder structures. Essential for understanding this condition is recognising the role of bursae in minimising friction within the shoulder, particularly among rotator cuff muscles, tendons, bones, and ligaments.

Causes of Shoulder Bursitis

Primarily triggered by a sudden surge in shoulder-related activities, such as overhead sports or weight lifting, shoulder bursitis is often linked to increased demands or load on the rotator cuff muscles. It is crucial to note that the activities themselves aren't inherently harmful; rather, it's the abrupt escalation in their intensity and time compared to recent months that can lead to subacromial bursitis.

Solution for Shoulder Bursitis

Physiotherapy for Shoulder Bursitis

Effective physiotherapy begins with understanding the patient's narrative, concerns, and goals. By conducting a thorough assessment, focusing on the upper back, shoulder blade, and rotator cuff muscles, physiotherapists can identify the root cause of shoulder pain. The treatment plan typically involves hands-on manual therapy, self-release techniques, and tailored exercises to restore range of motion and strength.

Rehabilitation Process

The rehabilitation journey involves progressively reintroducing the patient to pain-free exercises, emphasising graded exposure and gradual loading. The final stage focuses on a personalised preventative program to minimise the risk of future injuries. Exercise rehabilitation for the rotator cuff, upper back, and shoulder blade muscles forms a crucial aspect of long-term management.

Symptoms and Recognition

Shoulder bursitis manifests in various ways, often presenting as a painful arc during arm movement. Symptoms may include dull or sharp pain in the front or side of the shoulder, pain when lifting overhead, and discomfort during activities like brushing teeth or sleeping on the affected side.

Concerns and Misconceptions

Contrary to common belief, the presence of shoulder bursitis on scans (ultrasound, CT, or MRI) does not necessarily correlate with pain. Emphasising the importance of treating the individual and their symptoms, rather than the scan results, is paramount.

Sports Physiotherapy

45 views0 comments



The information contained within this website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment in any manner. Body Fit makes every effort to ensure the quality of information available on this website, however, before relying on the information on the website the user should carefully evaluate its accuracy, currency, completeness and relevance for their purposes and should obtain appropriate professional advice relevant to their particular personal circumstances. Body Fit advise that you should always seek the advice of your physiotherapist, doctor or other qualified health provider with respect to any questions regarding any medical condition. The website may contain hyperlinks to external websites, which are not maintained by, or related to, Body Fit. Hyperlinks to such sites are provided as a service to readers, and while care is taken in selecting external websites, it is the responsibility of the reader to make their decisions about the accuracy and reliability of the information contained in the external website. Hyperlinks to any external websites do no imply endorsement by Body Fit. Body Fit does not accept any liability for any injury, loss or damage incurred by the use or reliance on the information provided in this website.

bottom of page