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woman holding her shoulder

Bursitis is a condition caused by inflammation of one or both of the fluid-filled cushioning sacs between the rotator cuff and part of the shoulder blade (acromion). This condition often occurs with rotator cuff tendinitis.

Causes and risk factors

  • Excessive use
  • Long periods of pressure on joint (leaning on elbows)
  • Gout
  • Trauma
  • Rheumatoid arthritis


The many tissues of the shoulder become inflamed and painful with this condition. The shoulder area may have stiffness, swelling, and/or redness. Daily activities such as washing your hair and getting dressed may become painful.


Bursitis is usually treated without surgery. Many people experience relief with lifestyle changes such as:

  • Activity modification
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID’s)
  • Crutches/walking cane
  • Physical therapy
  • Steroid injection

In some cases surgery is required to repair torn tissues. A comprehensive examination from an orthopedic surgeon is required to find the causes of your shoulder pain and treat it appropriately.