Shoulder Bursitis

OPA treats a wide variety of shoulder conditions and offers comprehensive treatment options — including many non-surgical solutions.

What is Shoulder Bursitis?

The shoulder is a ball and socket joint made up of the humerus, scapula, and clavicle bones. The shoulder bursae are small fluid-filled sacs that rest between the bones. The bursae are important because they prevent the bones from rubbing directly against one another. Shoulder bursitis, which is inflammation of the bursae, is a common condition.

Common Causes:

    • Overuse, particularly during overhead sports.
    • Shoulder injury or trauma
    • Age
    • Poor posture

Symptoms of Shoulder Bursitis include:

    • Localized pain
    • Pain with movement
    • Tenderness
    • Swelling

Orthopedic Physicians Alaska (OPA) team of shoulder specialists take a step-by-step approach to determine the cause of shoulder bursitis. Key diagnostic steps include:

    • A medical history and symptom review
    • A physical examination
    • Medical imaging studies (multiple view x-rays and an MRI)

Once an official diagnosis is made, a customized treatment plan is prescribed. Treatment plans decrease symptoms as quickly as possible.

Common Treatments:

Nonsurgical treatment options treat the overwhelming majority of cases of shoulder bursitis. Nonsurgical treatment options that may be in an OPA specialists treatment plan include:

Corticosteroid and anesthetic medications that quickly decrease inflammation and pain when they are injected into the shoulder joint.

Taken orally or applied topically to decrease inflammation and pain.

Rest & Ice
Taking a break from activities that cause symptom flare-ups and applying ice to the shoulder decrease symptoms.

After symptoms subside, physical therapy may be used to improve your shoulder strength and flexibility and prevent future injuries. Surgery is rarely used to treat bursitis.

Schedule Appointment with Our Shoulder Team


The OPA team includes Alaska’s leading specialists and offers some of the latest, most advanced treatment procedures available today.

OPA treats a wide variety of conditions and offers comprehensive treatment options — including many non-surgical solutions, minimally invasive arthroscopies (repairs) and total joint replacement.

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