Tag Archives: bursitis

Rotator Cuff Bursitis

A bursa is a soft sac that is filled with fluid, which helps to lubricate and cushion soft tissue surfaces that undergo friction. A bursa basically helps reduce friction and keeps movement smooth.

In the shoulder, bursae are located between the shoulder blade and the rotator cuff. An inflamed or irritated bursa causes bursitis. Bursitis is usually accompanied by pain and swelling of the shoulder joint.

The symptoms of rotator cuff bursitis are pain or swelling, pain when shoulder is moved and tenderness in the injured area. Doctors check the injured area using X-ray testing to see if the rotator cuff bursitis is chronic or recurrent. MRI scanning can also help identify rotator cuff bursitis.

If the rotator cuff bursitis is not infected. Uninfected rotator cuff bursitis can be treated with rest, ice compresses, and pain and anti-inflammatory medications. The fluid might need to be removed to relieve symptoms. The bursa fluid is removed with needle and syringe in a sterile environment.  The fluid is sometimes sent for further analysis depending on the patient’s medical history.

If the rotator cuff bursitis is not infected, it can be treated with steroid injections given directly into the inflamed bursa. This can be done at the same time that the bursa is drained. Sometimes a patient is prescribed physical therapy to help with the recovery, especially when patient complains of a frozen shoulder.

If the rotator cuff bursitis is infected, the treatment has to be more aggressive.  The bursa will have to be drained and the fluid examined to identify the infection-causing microbes. The patient will need to be given antibiotics. Care needs to be taken and the rotator cuff bursitis will have to be watched for secondary infection. This can get a little complicated if the patient happens to be a diabetic.