The shoulder complex is a ball and socket joint and is comprised of several groups of muscles, three bones and several soft tissue structures including ligaments, a joint capsule, labrum and several additional soft tissue structures. One of these additional structures is a lubricating sac called a bursa. The bursa rests between the upper shoulder bone (acromion) and the rotator cuff. The bursa serves as a cushion between the musculature and boney prominences of the shoulder joint. This cushion also assists in preventing additional irritation to the rotator cuff by reducing friction.
Bursitis is seen in the work or athletic population that uses their arms for repetitive lifting, pushing and pulling – electricians, construction, swimming, and softball. It can also occur with normal daily activities with daily hygiene or housework. The result of this type of repetitive trauma can cause inflammation of the bursa sac causing bursitis.
Symptoms include tenderness throughout the shoulder complex, but primarily located in the front (anterior) and outside (lateral) portion of the shoulder.