Home Health & Fitness Bursitis/ Rotator Cuff Tendinitis: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Bursitis/ Rotator Cuff Tendinitis: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

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Bursitis/ Rotator Cuff Tendinitis: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment
Muscular man suffering with shoulder pain on black background

Patients with shoulder pain are usually diagnosed with tendinitis or bursitis of the rotator cuff. Also known as impingement syndrome, bursitis is an inflammation of the bursa that lies between the top of the humerus (arm bone) and the top of the shoulder.  Generally, the rotator cuff tendons slide smoothly within this space. In some people, however, space becomes too narrow and the bursa and tendons become thickened and inflamed, which reduces the space within even further.

Anatomy

The shoulder is made up of three bones and is a “ball in socket” type of joint. The three bones that make up the shoulder are the upper arm bone (humerus), the shoulder blade (scapula), and collarbone (clavicle). The humerus fits in a tiny pocket in the shoulder blade, creating the “ball in socket” visual. Synovial fluid in the shoulder helps to keep the joint lubricated for easier movement while strong connective tissue surrounds the joint.

 

Description

Tendonitis is when the tendons in the rotator cuff become damaged or irritated and bursitis is when the bursa becomes inflamed and swells with fluid making it painful.

Causes

Rotator cuff pain is very common when it comes to athletes. Athletes who do more overhead movements, such as swimmers, as well as tennis and baseball players, are more vulnerable to having rotator cuff problems. However, people who repetitively lift or do overhead activities such as working construction, paper hanging, or painting are just as vulnerable. At times there is no real cause as to why it occurs.

Symptoms

Bursitis or impingement syndrome is characterized by shoulder pain that occurs when reaching sideways or overhead. The pain can also occur while sleeping at night. Symptoms also include:

  • Mild pain either doing an activity or staying at rest.
  • Pain that radiates from the front shoulder to the side of the arm
  • Pain when making reaching motions and lifting
  • Some athletes will experience pain when serving or throwing a ball

Treatment

Approximately 90 percent of patients with shoulder pain will respond to non-operative treatments like exercise, rest and anti-inflammatory medication. Bursitis or Impingement syndrome is often successfully treated by a prescribed physical therapy program, medication and sometimes a steroidal injection. Avoiding overhead activities and taking the anti-inflammatory and non-steroidal medicines and some physical therapy may be needed if reaching behind your back is difficult. If everything fails, surgery may be needed. The surgery is to create space for the rotator cuff and remove the inflamed part of the burs. It can be done either an arthroscopically or open surgery. Surgeons use orthopedic implants and instruments to perform open surgery that can be obtained from the best orthopedic implants manufacturers in India.

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