Acute subacromial bursitis
The subacromial bursa sits like a flattened balloon containing fluid under the hard cap of bone at the shoulder where it acts to lubricate shoulder movement and to protect the tendons lying underneath. Occasionally the bursa can become suddenly very inflamed, swollen and painful, especially noticeable on attempting to lift the arm away from the side.
There is no known cause but it can be associated with a ‘burst’ of a nugget of calcium in one of the underlying tendons, usually supraspinatus. The pain will usually settle in approximately three weeks without treatment but pain relief maybe needed with prescribed medication, TENS or an anti-inflammatory injection of steroid into the bursa to help the inflammation and pain to settle.
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