MedClinic > Blog > Traumatology > Subacromial bursitis

Synovial bursa is a name for a slit-like cavity lined with a membrane and containing a small amount of synovial fluid. Bursa is located near the protruding sections of bones and perform a shock-absorbing function, protecting soft tissues (muscles, tendons, skin and fascias) from excessive friction or pressure.

One of the most common joint pathologies is bursitis.

Bursitis is an acute, subacute or chronic inflammatory process in a synovial bursa. The disease is accompanied by an enlargement of bursa due to the accumulation of fluid in it. The cause of its development may be acute trauma, constant mechanical irritation or salt deposition in some rheumatoid diseases.

Most often, inflammation of the subacromial bursa is observed. Normally, it is in a collapsed state and, when the arm is abated, contributes to smooth gliding of the large tubercle of humerus along the lower surface of the acromion process of the scapula. With its inflammation, which occurs most often with chronic trauma to the shoulder joint, patients are worried about pain during abduction and flexion in the shoulder, sometimes spontaneous pain at night occurs. Dressing, combing, applying makeup is difficult and painful. Pain can radiate down the arm. In addition to soreness of the affected joint, with bursitis of the shoulder, there are also signs of a certain stiffness of movements, discomfort, swelling, redness of the skin around the affected area, and a local increase in temperature.

The diagnosis is established after collecting a detailed medical history, as well as the results of clinical examination. During the examination, special clinical tests are carried out that help to distinguish one disease of the shoulder joint from another. Sometimes it’s difficult to distinguish between tendonitis of the biceps tendon, for example, from impingement syndrome. In such cases, an ultrasound or MRI scan is performed. Arthroscopy can also be one of the methods for diagnosing and treating shoulder joint. This is a fairly minimally invasive treatment method. During arthroscopy, it is possible to look into the joint and see its internal structure. An arthroscope is a small optical device that is introduced into the joint through a puncture in the skin and allows diagnosing and treating injuries and diseases of the biceps tendon, rotational cuff, and articular lip.

Injection into the subacromial bursa

Treatment usually begins with limiting workload, giving up sports or work that led to the disease. Anti-inflammatory drugs help reduce pain and swelling. Physiotherapy is appointed. An effective treatment is shock wave therapy.

After reducing pain and swelling syndrome, a gradual development of movements in the joint begins. Injections of hormonal drugs or platelet-rich plasma into the cavity of the inflamed bursa can be used to reduce joint pain.