Does Having Sub-Acromial Bursitis On A Scan Matter?
Most often, it doesn't matter!
If we were to scan a large group or people who have zero shoulder pain, we'd see that the vast majority of these people has Sub-Acromial Bursitis on their scan! Remember, these people don't have pain!
The key is clinically distinguishing whether your shoulder pain is actually caused by bursitis, or by another structure in the shoulder, typically the rotator cuff tendons.
Sports Doctors in Essendon, and Sports Physiotherapists are experts in determining what is actually causing your shoulder pain, and what you need to do about it.
Often the rotator cuff tendons are the cause of your shoulder pain, and the bursitis can be a red-herring, though sometimes the bursa is the true cause of the pain.
It is also common for someone to have micro-instability in the shoulder, which means the ball moves just 2-3mm extra in the joint, and this poorly controlled motion can compress and irritate the sub-acromial bursa, causing bursitis.
What Can You Do To Fix Shoulder Bursitis?
Typically we will organise an ultrasound scan to determine the extent of the bursitis and the exact location. Ultrasound scans by an experienced radiologist or sports doctor can very accurately assess the area and provide significant details that are vital in creating an effective treatment plan.
Conservative Management Of Shoulder Bursitis::
This is how you fix the majority of shoulder sub-acromial bursitis.
The involves soft tissue therapy and specific exercise strengthening via a sports physiotherapist who understands shoulders intimately.
Improving shoulder strength, to control the ball in the socket is paramount, and is the best long lasting treatment of shoulder bursitis.
Injection Therapy For Shoulder Bursitis:
Cortisone (steroid) injection is a common treatment for sub-acromial bursitis, and has been shown to be effective for the right person with a correct diagnosis.
You must have severe bursitis showing up on your imaging, serious pain, or have not gained relief following a physiotherapy-led shoulder rehabilitation program that targets bursitis.
We recommend a sub-acromial bursa injection if it is necessary, and to have the injection guided by ultrasound by a recognised sports doctor who specialises in this area.
Surgery For Shoulder Bursitis:
For persistent cases that do not resolve, then surgery can be recommended. The surgery involves removing the bursa and is shown to have a high success rate to resolve the symptoms, as long as the patient pursues the appropriate post operation physiotherapy strengthing program.
Like any surgery it does have inherent risks but for cases that don't respond to conservative management or injection therapy then this is an option that can be considered in the nasty recalcitrant cases.