Shoulder bursitis is a common but uncomfortable condition that causes pain and limits movement in the shoulder. As a board-certified orthopedic surgeon, Dominique Nickson, MD is experienced in the diagnosis and treatment of shoulder bursitis. He’s proud to offer these services to patients at Next Step Orthopedics in McKinney, Texas and surrounding areas including Frisco, Allen, Plano and Prosper, Texas.

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What is shoulder bursitis?

The shoulder’s bursa is a tiny sack filled with gel. It rests between the joints in the shoulder, and it’s responsible for reducing friction during movement. Shoulder bursitis occurs when this sack becomes inflamed.

What are the symptoms of shoulder bursitis?

The most common symptoms of shoulder bursitis include pain in the shoulder, stiffness, and a limited ability to move the shoulder. The pain usually develops on the outside of the shoulder, and it may be worse when the patient is sleeping or attempts to raise the arm above the head.

In severe cases, shoulder bursitis can lead to a more serious condition, such as shoulder impingement syndrome. This condition will require more extensive treatment.

What causes shoulder bursitis?

Shoulder bursitis occurs when the bursa becomes inflamed because of an underlying rheumatic condition like arthritis, an infection, or an injury.

How does Dr. Nickson diagnose shoulder bursitis?

If a patient comes in with symptoms that indicate shoulder bursitis, Dr. Nickson will begin by examining the shoulder. During this examination, he will pay special attention to the discomfort the patient experiences with specific movements of the shoulder. He will also ask questions about the patient’s history, and he may order imaging tests to rule out other possible causes of pain, such as a fracture.

What treatments are available?

If Dr. Nickson confirms a diagnosis of shoulder bursitis, he will recommend treatments based on the severity of the condition and the patient’s preferences. In many cases, patients can recover from shoulder bursitis by:

  • Resting and avoiding activities that put stress on the shoulder
  • Applying ice
  • Taking an anti-inflammatory medication
  • Participating in physical therapy

If the condition has progressed to shoulder impingement syndrome, the patient may need more invasive treatment, such as surgery.

How can patients avoid shoulder bursitis in the future?

Shoulder bursitis is often a recurrent problem that may return after treatment. Patients can avoid future episodes of bursitis by avoiding repetitive overhead motions and working to strengthen and stabilize the shoulder. Patients should also follow all of Dr. Nickson’s post-treatment instructions carefully to reduce the risk of future problems.