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Home / Where Does It Hurt? / Subacromial/Subdeltoid Bursitis

Subacromial/Subdeltoid Bursitis

The acromion is a projection of bone that curves forward from the shoulder blade. It overlies the ball and socket joint of the shoulder and forms a joint with the collar bone. A group of muscles called the rotator cuff muscles pass through a space beneath the acromion called the subacromial space. These muscles stabilize the shoulder joint and coordinate with each other to move the arm in various directions.

The subacromial space also contains a fluid-filled sac called a bursa that reduces friction during movement. A similar bursa is present beneath the deltoid muscle which covers the upper end of the arm and shoulder. These bursae may get inflamed with repetitive use of the shoulder such as during sports and cause tissue impingement producing pain and limiting range of motion.

Impingement of the muscles and bursae can also occur due to structural abnormalities, arthritis or bone spurs which narrow the subacromial space. Shoulder pain is usually exacerbated by overhead activities and may radiate to the arm. It may also be difficult to lie down on that shoulder.

Your doctor will evaluate your pain and shoulder movement. Shoulder bursitis is usually treated by conservative methods such as rest, ice, anti-inflammatory medications and ultrasound therapy to control symptoms. Specific shoulder exercises are recommended to improve flexibility and strength. Steroid injections may be administered if symptoms are not well controlled. Severe cases may require surgery.

New forms of treatment available include stem cell injections and platelet-rich plasma which help enhance the body’s healing potential and may preclude the need for surgery. Stem cells and PRP are obtained and processed using state of the art technology. These in-office procedures require no recovery time and can be used to treat a variety of soft tissue injuries and conditions including bursitis.