What is Bursitis / Tendonitis?
The ending of the word “itis” is defined as inflammation. Therefore, bursitis is inflammation of a bursa, and tendonitis is inflammation of a tendon. A bursa is a fluid-filled sac that sits between muscles or tissues to cushion and reduce friction. In the shoulder, there is a rather large bursa between the deltoid muscle and joint. This is called the sub-deltoid bursa. This bursa can often become inflamed due to abnormal joint movements, poor posture, and weakness of the surrounding musculature. This causes strain to the tissues and excessive friction on the bursa. People tend to feel pain with movement and especially movement out to the side or reaching behind them.
Tendons connect muscles to bones. In the shoulder, common areas for tendonitis are in the rotator cuff tendons (supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis) and bicep tendons. Pain can be felt deep in the shoulder or in the front of the shoulder. Pain is usually felt as a sharp, catching sensation with certain movements.
How physical therapy helps
Physical therapy is the first line of conservative treatment for bursitis and tendonitis. Since most bursitis and tendonitis are due to underlying abnormal mechanics of movement and weakness, our trained physical therapists evaluate your movement to pinpoint the exact source of trouble. Modalities may be used to alleviate pain and discomfort, while hands-on therapy improves joint mechanics and movement.
Finally, gentle strengthening exercises and joint coordination exercises help to restore stability to the affected area and to prevent the re-occurrence of the symptoms.