Bursae are small, fluid-filled sacs that are located in joints throughout the body, including the shoulder. They act as cushions between bones and the overlying soft tissues and help reduce friction between the gliding muscles and the bone. Sometimes, excessive use of the shoulder leads to inflammation and swelling of the bursa or the rotator cuff tendons.
Shoulder impingement occurs when the top of the shoulder blade puts pressure on the underlying soft tissues when the arm is lifted away from the body. This can lead to bursitis and tendinitis, causing pain and limiting movement. Over time, severe impingement can even lead to a rotator cuff tear. The many tissues in the shoulder can become inflamed and painful. Many daily activities, such as combing your hair or getting dressed, may become difficult.
If you have shoulder pain that has been present for a long time or new pain from a recent injury, you should visit us at The Orthopaedic Clinic and let our shoulder experts evaluate you. Your orthopedic surgeon will conduct a thorough evaluation including medical history, physical examination and x-rays in order to determine the cause of your shoulder pain and provide you with treatment options. Often, an MRI, which is a special imaging test, needs to be done to look at the soft tissues better.
Treatment generally involves rest, altering your activities, and physical therapy to help you improve shoulder strength and flexibility. Common sense solutions such as avoiding overexertion or overdoing activities in which you normally do not participate can help to prevent shoulder pain.
Your doctor may prescribe medication to reduce inflammation and pain. If medication is prescribed to relieve pain, it should be taken only as directed. He may also recommend injections of numbing medicines or steroids to relieve pain.
Surgery may be required to resolve some shoulder problems; however, 80% of patients with shoulder impingement or bursitis will respond to simple treatment methods such as altering activities, rest, exercise, injections and medication.
Surgery for impingement is usually all-arthroscopic and involves removing bone spurs, the inflamed bursa and trimming torn or frayed tissue. Immobilization in a sling is rarely required and therapy is usually started immediately to regain motion and strength as quickly as possible.
The surgeons at The Orthopaedic Clinic have specialized training and years of experience in treating all types of shoulder problems and are offering the latest and greatest in surgical and non-surgical options and techniques. Come see us today for a consultation!