The bursae are thin, fluid-filled sacs that cushion the space between bones and connective tissues and allow for friction-free movements. Without bursae, our skin, tendons, and ligaments would wear out due to friction between them and the bony surfaces.
There are over 150 bursae in our body, of which shoulder bursae are the most commonly inflamed or irritated. Shoulder bursitis often results from overuse of the shoulder or repetitive shoulder movements.
How is Shoulder Bursitis Diagnosed?
When you visit an orthopedic doctor with a complaint of severe shoulder pain and discomfort, the doctor evaluates your medical history and performs a physical exam to pinpoint the cause of the pain.
An orthopedic doctor can diagnose bursitis based on your physical exam and medical history, but if needed, they can also run some diagnostic tests, such as:
- Imaging tests
Imaging tests such as X-rays can’t diagnose bursitis but can rule out other conditions as the cause of your shoulder pain and discomfort. However, other diagnostic imaging techniques, such as ultrasound and MRI, can also help make diagnosis of bursitis if your doctor thinks that a physical exam alone isn’t sufficient to make an accurate diagnosis.
- Lab tests
An orthopedic doctor might also run blood tests or order an analysis of fluid from an inflamed bursa to find out the cause of your symptoms. Lab tests can also confirm whether the bursa is infected or not.
How is Shoulder Bursitis Treated?
Generally, shoulder bursitis gets better on its own with at-home measures such as rest, icing, bracing, and painkillers. But, if these measures don’t work, your orthopedic doctor may recommend the following methods to treat bursitis.
In addition to over-the-counter painkillers and anti-inflammatories, bursitis can also be treated with antibiotics when the fluid in the bursa is infected with bacteria.
- Physical therapy
Physical therapy has also been found to relieve shoulder joint pain and discomfort. The exercises included in your physical therapy program can strengthen the muscles of the shoulder joint. These exercises can also ease pain and prevent bursitis from recurrence.
To address the inflammation of the bursa, your orthopedic doctor may inject a corticosteroid drug into your inflamed bursa. The injection works quickly and provides relief from pain and inflammation.
Rarely bursitis doesn’t respond to nonsurgical treatment methods. In such cases, arthroscopic surgery is recommended. During the surgery, a small incision is made in the skin and a tiny camera is inserted. Then, with the help of a tiny instrument, your surgeon removes damaged tissue that is pressing on the bursa or removes inflamed bursa so that the tendons and bones can move easily.
Shoulder Bursitis Treatment in Miami Lakes, FL
If you have shoulder pain that is interfering with your quality of life and are seeking a lasting solution, visit us at The Orthopaedic Hand and Arm Center. Our highly trained and board-certified orthopedic doctor, Dr. Kinchelow, is committed to providing you relief from your orthopedic issues, including shoulder bursitis, with surgical and nonsurgical treatment options. She also empowers and guides patients to participate in their healing and recovery.