Shoulder Bursitis

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

What is shoulder bursitis?

A bursa is a tiny fluid-filled sac that functions as a gliding surface to reduce friction between tissues of the body. The plural of bursa is bursae. There are 160 bursae in the body. The major bursae are located adjacent to the tendons near the large joints, such as the shoulders, elbows, hips, and knees.

Bursitis is inflammation of a bursa. Injury or inflammation of a bursa around the shoulder joint causes shoulder bursitis.

What causes shoulder bursitis?

A bursa can become inflamed from injury, infection (rare in the shoulder), or an underlying rheumatic condition. Examples include infection of the bursa in front of the knee from a knee scraping on asphalt (septic prepatellar bursitis), inflammation of the elbow bursa from gout crystals (gouty olecranon bursitis), or injury as subtle as lifting a bag of groceries into the car, which could inflame the shoulder bursa and lead to shoulder bursitis.

What are risk factors for shoulder bursitis?

Injury or strain to the shoulder joint causes shoulder bursitis. Activities that are common risk factors for shoulder bursitis include throwing a ball, lifting objects overhead, and trauma from a fall onto the shoulder.

Reviewed on 1/8/2016
References
REFERENCE:

Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.

IMAGES:

1.WebMD

2.iStock/"Phs-calc" by Lengerke. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 de via Wikimedia Commons

3.Getty Images

4.iStock

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